Saturday, January 06, 2007

Bejewelled duck

I enjoyed seeing Gennaro Contaldo on Saturday Kitchen over Christmas and was impressed with his duck and pomegranate dish. It looks quick, easy and importantly, very tasty! I had one duck breast left that was just clinging onto life and a couple of pomegranates so this seemed to the perfect recipe.

Anatra con melagrana (duck with pomegranate) and sauteed escarole

by Gennaro Contaldo from Saturday Kitchen - Serves 4

Preparation time less than 30 mins - Cooking time 10 to 30 mins

4 skinless duck breasts
salt and freshly ground black pepper
plain flour, for dusting
40g/1½oz butter
4 tbsp olive oil
4 pomegranates
For the escarole
1 escarole, cleaned and leaves separated
5 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Season the duck breast with salt and freshly ground black pepper and dust with flour, shaking off any excess.
3. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large ovenproof frying pan until the butter begins to foam. Add the duck and fry for two minutes on each side, then transfer to the oven to roast for 5-6 minutes, or until just cooked. The duck should be rare, but cook according to your preference.
4. Meanwhile, rub two of the whole pomegranates firmly on a work surface with the palm of your hand, then cut them in half and squeeze out the juice, as you would with a lemon, all over the cooked duck.
5. Open up the remaining pomegranates and remove the seeds. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the duck.
6. Place the duck onto a plate and drizzle with the juices and seeds from the pan. Let the duck rest for 2-3 minutes then slice on the diagonal.
7. For the escarole, blanch the escarole leaves for a couple of minutes in boiling salted water. Drain and set aside.
8. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the garlic and fry for one minute, or until soft, then add the escarole and gently sauté for 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the escarole is tender.
9. To serve, place the escarole onto the plate alongside the duck and spoon any remaining pan juices over.

I couldn’t find any escarole unfortunately so instead pan-fried some mâche in the wonderful juices from the duck and pomegranate. It worked but disappeared to almost nothing, maybe I should have used all of it! I would have like more of a ’vegetable’ with this duck so I might consider some cabbage for next time. I think the crunch of a good handful of Savoy cabbage would suit this dish very well. I would never have thought of combining the duck breast with pomegranate so I have to thank Gennaro for this tasty idea.

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