Pan Roasted Duck Breast with a Sweet Pickled Fennel and Apple Salad, Beetroot Sauce
Starter for two
3 baby beetroot (300gm approx)
1 – 2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
Big sprig thyme
Salt and pepper
Pickled Fennel and Apple Salad
1 Granny Smith apple
1 medium fennel bulb
Sprig of thyme
125ml rice wine vinegar
6 – 8 Szechuan peppercorns
2 Duck Breasts
Preheat oven gas mark 6, 200 C, 400 F
Top and tail and cut the beetroot into halves (I use disposable rubber gloves whenever handling beetroot to stop my hands getting stained)
Put beetroots onto a large tin foil square making sure there’s enough room around it to be able to fold over and form a good seal with no leakage
Put the pomegranate molasses, the thyme, butter and salt and pepper over the beetroot
Fold over top of tinfoil and put into preheated oven for 1 hour until really soft and tender
Cut the duck breasts on the skin side until nearly through to the flesh but not quite and season generously with salt and pepper
Using a cold non-stick frying pan lay the duck breast onto the pan and put the hob on a low heat and leave alone for 4 – 6 minutes until the skin is crispy and golden and all the fat has rendered out. Cooking times are dependent on the thickness of your duck and its skin
Once the fat has rendered, pop the duck breast into the oven for 3 – 5 minutes. You want it to be lovely and pink so don’t overcook
Now make the pickle. Place the rice wine vinegar, the water, sugar, thyme and szechuan pepper into a saucepan and bring to the boil; keep simmering until all the sugar has dissolved
Using the slicing attachment on the food processor, or by hand finely slice the fennel bulb (you might need to remove some tough outer leaves) and apple with the skin on but core removed
Drain the pickle juice into a jug to remove all of the bits and then add the sliced fennel and apple to the pickle liquor. I leave this about 5 minutes. I like the vegetables to be crispy and to have taken on the pickle flavour
Check duck. Remove from the oven just before it’s medium rare. It should be like poking the fleshy part at the base of your thumb. Leave to one side to rest
Remove the beetroot from the oven and leave to cool a little
Add to the beetroot to a blender. Blend until you have a smooth puree. You can mash it but it will not be so fine
Once a smooth puree achieved you can serve like that or put some into a J Cloth and squeeze through to get a sauce
Splash the beetroot onto a plate. Cut the duck and place on the sauce and put a portion of the fennel and apple to the side
Cheesy Fish Pie
500 gm Filleted Cod, Skinned (Haddock or other white fish is fine) 500gm Smoked Cod Fillet, Skinned (Again Haddock would be fine) 200gm pack of Atlantic cold water prawns (use the large farmed ones if you want I just like the little cold water ones better)
900 ml Milk (semi skimmed is fine)
150gm Strong cheddar grated
150gm Parmesan grated
1.5Kg King Edward potatoes peeled
Cornflour 6 tablespoons
Cold Water 2 Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper
Large knob of butter
1. Peel the potatoes, chop and place into water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender for mashing.
2. Whilst potatoes are cooking, put milk into a large pan and place onto stove top to simmer add the bay leaves.
3. Put the cod loin and smoked cod into the milk make sure its covered. If not possible do in two batches. Simmer the fish until it just starts to cook and still a little translucent.
4. Remove fish using a slotted spoon and place into your baking dish (do not discard the milk keep it in the pan). Gently flake it across the dish mixing the smoked and plain fish fillet evenly. Keep in chunks as we want to keep texture.
5. Put the cornflour into a mug and mix with enough water or cold milk to form a smooth paste a bit thicker than double cream.
6. Bring the fishy milk to the boil carefully stirring its quite easy to catch and burn it. Add the cornflour and stir until milk is bubbling and a thicker consistency. It should coat the back of the spoon. Quickly add in the cheeses and stir to combine.
7. If there are a few bits of cheese not dissolved don’t worry they will do so in the oven but you should now have a lovely thick cheese sauce.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste be careful with the salt the smoked fish is very salty. Remove the bay leaves.
9. Gently pour the cheese sauce over the fish and evenly distribute the prawns over the top.
10. Mash the potatoes with a large knob of butter and a spoon at a time evenly distribute over the top of the pie. Use a fork to fluff up and place in an oven gas mark 6. 180 for 30 minutes until the top is golden brown.
11. I love to serve this with purple sprouting broccoli, steamed spinach or another dark green but choose the veg you love. This recipe is gluten free, as I use cornflour to thicken the cheese sauce but please feel free to make your cheese sauce the traditional way using a roux.
Jane will be in our Celebrity Chef Cookery Theatre on Sunday 16th September 2018, you can book your tickets at: https://foodanddrink.seetickets.com/event/festival-of-food-and-drink/clumber-park/1182521/