Standing at the counter in Honest 2 Goodness market recently, I told Bríd how good the smoked duck breast had been. I had bought some the previous week and asked her how to serve it.
-”Try a salad with some greens and a pomegranate” she said.
Another customer standing alongside me turned and asked me to post it on the blog, so here it is.
All the components will keep for a week or more and are assembled in a few minutes. Nigel Slater has redefined ‘Fast Food’ as something you can cook quickly from what you’ve got in your garden, fridge or local purveyors of good fresh food. It requires careful shopping- provenance is everything- and growing a few lettuces and herbs outside the back door. Smoked Duck breast is delicious, but rich, so a little goes a long way. To counterpoint it, pomegranate seeds and oranges lend balance and colour . Toasted walnuts add more protein,minerals and vitamins.
And the greens….we all need to eat more greens, and at almost every meal. The freshest greens are available in your back garden, allotment, or from a kindly neighbour with a glut at this time of year. Home grown greens taste of the soil, they have ‘terroir’ (a term usually only applied to wine) and will leave you satisfied, quite unlike how you feel after a feed of hydroponically grown lettuce.
Serves 2 or 3
1 smoked duck breast
a handful of roasted walnuts
1 orange- one half for juicing and the other for chopping into segments
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
-I used cavolo nero- it seems to resist the slugs in my small walled garden better than other greens- stripped the stems, tore it up, squeezed the juice of half an orange over it and rubbed it in with my hands to soften the kale.
-Then I roasted the walnuts for about 8 minutes in the Aga
- The pomegranate was halved and seeded.
Ah, the beauty and joy of a pomegranate- It requires the wearing of an apron or you’ll never remove the stains from your clothing. As your fingers release the ruby pearls from their fellows, take care that none fall to the ground to stick to the sole of your shoe and stain the flooring. While concentrating, memories flood in- images of the boys in Khaled Hosseini’s memoir “The Kite Runner” pelting each other with pomegranates in Khandahar and my favourite one, the poem “The Pomegranate” by Eavan Boland. I recall the time of day, the light in the kitchen and what I was doing when my son first read me that poem from his English textbook. Read it slowly, aloud, and again. It’s about coming of age, ripening and it happens to us all.
-Dressing was made by whisking together some Dijon mustard, a little grainy mustard, salt pepper, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and the prize…. some walnut oil straight from a farm in the Dordogne in France, brought home earlier this week by my sister-in-law.
- The salad was assembled, dressed and tossed.
“C’était bon”, as the French would say, their highest and most understated gastronomic compliment.