December 26th, 2011

Duck Pastrami; Medjool Date and Blood Orange Salad

This dish brings back a few memories from the past. The British Larder is my foody diary; one that I started very late in my life but it’s a diary of vague memories. Some fun, some pleasant, and some a bit painful growing up in the “cheffing world” and others of the very vague memories I have of food as a child.

Medjool dates evoke a few fond memories for me. My grandmother and mother both love dates; I remember how grandmother and I would sit in front of the fire on a cold winters day with nothing sweet to nibble on in the larder apart from a packet of dried dates. I remember holding them in my warm hands to soften them and then nibbling on them until I’m left with the stone in my mouth. It was sweet and meaty just like a fresh plump medjool date. The other memory I have is when I spent time in Israel working at a moshav in Hazeva near Eilat. I was working there with a few friends and we often took the bus to Eilat, en-route we’d pass large date palm plantations – gosh these palm trees were beautiful and usually covered with heavy ripe fruits ready to be harvested. These fond childhood memories of dates come back vividly, even now I’m sitting here remembering the days sitting in the air- conditioned bus en-route to Eilat viewing the beautiful date palm trees. Memories!!

The meaty rich and creamy texture of the dates compliments the duck pastrami, it gives the dish that luxurious velvety texture whereas the zesty blood orange cuts through the richness of the duck and dates. It’s a lovely combination, not only delicious but colourful enough to brighten up colder days.

Duck Pastrami

  • 2 large male duck breasts
  • 1tbs coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 25g Maldon sea salt
  • 50 dark brown sugar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1tbs chopped fresh thyme

Score the duck skin, remove the sliver skin, set aside.

Use a pestle and mortar to crush the rest of the ingredients into a paste. Rub it into the duck meat; massage it into the fat side. Vacuum pack the duck breast tightly and leave to marinade overnight.

Remove the duck from the vacuum pouch, wash and dry the duck.

Lightly smoke the breast, fat side down. Cool.

Blood Orange and Balsamic Jelly

  • 280ml blood orange juice
  • 20ml balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5g agar agar powder

Bring the blood orange juice and vinegar to the boil, reduce to 250ml. Stir in the agar powder, mix well, bring the fluid back to the simmer for 2 minutes. Pour the liquid into a small tray and leave to set completely at room temperature.

Medjool Date Puree

  • 200g Medjool dates, stones removed
  • 1tb olive oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1tsp sherry vinegar

Blend all the ingredients to a paste, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Keep refrigerated until needed.

Jerusalem Artichoke Puree

  • 300g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and sliced
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 50ml double cream

Peel and finely slice the artichokes, place it in a vacuum bag, add the butter and seasoning. Seal on hard vacuum.

Bring the water to boil in a large saucepan and place the vacuum bag in the water, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and leave to simmer for 40 minutes.

Puree the Jerusalem artichokes in a blender until very smooth, add the cream, and if it’s still too thick then add more cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning if need.

To Serve

Finely slice the duck. Cut the jelly into serving size pieces.

Spread the date puree on the plate, place small drops of Jerusalem artichoke puree on the plate, and arrange the duck slices with chicory pieces, fresh blood orange segments and coriander cress.

Serves 6

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7 Comments to “Duck Pastrami; Medjool Date and Blood Orange Salad”

  1. Madalene says:

    Hi Ritchie,

    Smoke the duck for about 10 -12 minutes.

    Best, Maddy

  2. Ritchie Allibone says:

    How long would one smoke the duck breast?

  3. paul says:

    would the duck breast be cold smoked? or hot smoked?

  4. Madalene says:

    Hi Paul,

    I have used the hot smoking method.

    You can cold smoke it as well, either or will be delicious.

    Happy Cooking

  5. This looks fab, we’ve been thinking about trying some cured/smoked duck recipes for a while now – delicious!

  6. Mike says:

    Did your blood orange and balsamic jelly to go with my Christmas Turkey and it was delicious. Thanks so much it will be a regular addition to my table.

  7. Nicole says:

    Looking good, love the colours. Pastrami sounds like hard work, willing to give it a go.

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