Duck and Watermelon Salad is my favourite salad in the world.
The first time I had it was at The Ivy
The second was at Gilgamesh
The third at Tootoomoo
The reason I remember where I was is because it always make such a big impression on me. A meat/fruit/sweet sauce combo is just heavenly and this is just the ultimate.
My recipe was originally based on that of Gilgamesh but I've since made various tweeks to suit my taste.
I'm not much of a pouter in photographs - regular readers may have noticed. But just to prove I can do it like the best of 'em, here I am pouting with a watermelon. What do you think?
I know, that's why I don't do it.
Duck & Watermelon Salad
You will need:
2 x duck legs (room temperature)
2-3 tbsp duck fat
1 tsp Chinese five spice or ground allspice
Some olive oil
1 tbsp mint leaves
1 tbsp coriander leaves
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1/4 watermelon cut into cubes
A pinch of chili flakes (optional)
A handful of cashew nuts
1 very finely sliced shallot
For the sauce
250g palm sugar (you can use brown sugar as a substitute)
2 lemongrass sticks, bruised
1 tsp galangal puree
1 shallot, cut in half
3 lime leaves, torn
1 tbsp tamarind puree
2 tbsp fish sauce
- Preheat the oven to 150C/130C fan assisted. Melt the duck fat in a small casserole; enough fat so it easily covers the bottom of the dish.
- Score each duck leg three times diagonally through the skin without cutting the flesh. Season with salt and a sprinkle of ground allspice.
- Place in the dish so they are snug but not over-lapping. Drizzle with some olive oil and place in the oven for 90 minutes. This slow cooking at a low temperature will make the skin lovely and crispy. After the time is up, check the skin is going crispy then increase the temperature to 180C/160C and cook for a further 15 minutes. If not your skin isn't crisping, leave it at the lower temperature for a further 30 minutes first.
- For the sauce: place all the ingredients in a small pan and let it bubble on a medium heat until it has reduced to a reasonably thick but still runny sauce - the consistency of the sauce is up to you so keep checking it until you're happy. Sieve the sauce into a bowl and move to the refrigerator to cool.
- When cooled, remove the duck from the bone - it should fall off. Place the pieces in a bowl with the hoisin sauce, watermelon, cashew nuts, sliced shallot, chili and some of the coriander and mint (keep some back for garnish.
- Add some of the fish sauce - as much as you require. Mix gently.
- Place the salad on a plate and garnish with the remaining herbs. Drizzle with more sauce if required and serve! Can be enjoyed warm or cold.