SALADE LANDAISE

 

From Lidgates, The Meat Cookbook by Danny Lidgate and Hattie Ellis

 

Salade Landaise is the country salad of the part of South West France that specialises in duck and walnuts. Part of the secret is the sharp dressing that cuts through the rich, fatty duck. Use whatever pieces of prepared duck you can find. Like many butchers, we sell prepared pieces of confit duck that can be kept at home ready for quick and delicious meals. Ours come from our friend Thomas Maieli, aka Mr Duck, who not only makes wonderful confit and smoked duck but also does a confit of the gizzards. These firm little morsels, originally used by the bird to grind up food, are really interesting to eat and well worth trying.

 

 Serves 4

 

Prepared duck: eg 2 confit duck legs, or 1 confit duck leg and 60g sliced smoked duck breast and/or 150g confit duck gizzards

100g crustless white bread cut into 2.5cm cubes

50g walnuts

150g tasty lettuce (frisée is traditional)

8 good quality cherry tomatoes, halved

 

 

For the dressing:

1 banana shallot, very finely diced

1 tsp Dijon mustard

3 tsp sherry or white wine vinegar

1 tsp honey

5 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp finely chopped chives

 

Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7.  Put the confit duck in a roasting tray and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and the meat hot all the way to the bone.  Meanwhile, if using, fry the confit gizzards in their own fat until crisp and cooked through. Make the vinaigrette by whisking all the ingredients together.

Remove the confit duck from the roasting tray but leave the fat. Turn the oven down to 160°C/Gas 3.  If you’ve cooked gizzards instead of 2 confit duck legs, pour some of the fat into the roasting tray. Turn the croutons over in the fat and put the walnuts on the other side of the tray.

Once the oven has reached the lower temperature – it must not be too hot – put the bread and walnuts in the oven and toast for 10 minutes, turning the croutons over after 5 minutes. Take care that the walnuts do not become too brown, or they turn bitter.

 

 Cut the confit duck into medium shreds, including the skin. If using, slice the gizzards.

Toss the lettuce, tomatoes, walnuts and croutons in the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Put on 4 plates. Arrange your pieces of duck over the salad.  Serve immediately.