A romantic dinner for two at home deserves a special mains that is easy to prepare while adding to the intimate mood of the occasion. This brings instantaneously to mind the ever-delectable French favourite – duck confit – with skin crisped to perfection…
…but without its usual heavy intense gravy and equally rich side of specially cooked savoury accompliments. Instead the duck’s depth of flavor is impeccably balanced here with a refreshingly fresh salad through which subtly peeps gravy ever so light and spritely…
…leaving us the delightful ability to do a luxurious dessert to follow its greatest justice!
2 duck legs confit*
2½ large tangerines, peeled
3 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
6 tbsp brine from 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
3 tbsp double cream
Cracked black pepper
1 cup chickpeas from the above tin, brine drained
½ large Japanese cucumber, julienned
2 shallots, peeled, horizontally sliced and separated into individual rings
6 stalks koo chye**, julienned
* You can buy cooked duck confit jarred in duck fat from gourmet delis and butcher shops
** You can buy this Southeast Asian garlic chive from Asian grocers; or substitute it with regular chives
For the salad:
- With a sharp knife, segment the flesh of 2 tangerines into a large bowl. Set what remains of these citrus fruit aside.
- Thoroughly toss the tangerine segments with the chickpeas, cucumber, shallots and koo chye in the bowl.
For the gravy:
- Squeeze the juice from what remains of the 2 segmented tangerines into a saucepan.
- Add the juice of the halved tangerine, vinegar, mustard and chickpea tin’s liquid brine into the saucepan.
- Stir the mixture over a gentle heat until the mustard is totally dissolved into the liquids.
- Add the cream and grated pepper (generously); stirring until the gravy is smoothly blended.
For the duck confit:
- Remove the duck legs from the duck fat in which it is submerged in the jar.
- Place both legs on a grill grid suspended over a drip pan.
- Set the fan-forced oven at 2200C.
- Immediately place the drip pan with the duck legs into the oven.
- Once the oven temperature reaches 2200C, leave the duck legs in there at that temperature for another 30 minutes, till the skin is browned and crispy.
- Share the gravy between 2 dinner plates; making sure it is evenly spread over each.
- Evenly scatter ½ the salad over gravy in 1 dinner plate.
- Place a crispy skin duck confit over the plated salad, and serve immediately.