Duck or Halloumi and Peach Salad
Duck or Halloumi and Peach Salad
Aaargh! This post was supposed to be landing in your inbox sometime in July. All the cooking and photography was done just after that very hot few days – remember that? But the holidays have an energy of their own and before I knew it we were in Scotland (not so hot) and then Provence (very hot) and finally back in the UK (wet) and what with one thing and another this is the first opportunity to sit down and do something real. My original post mused on the summer heat, which was, in London at least, fairly unbearable for a short time. Had I appreciated how just how short the hot spell would last I might have been a little less complaining about its effects on my energy levels (sapping) and you might argue that being a true English girl I should know better, but I am also an optimist, and when it gets hot the glass half full in me predicts that it will last until September. Anyway, it didn’t and here we are in September wondering if there will be an Indian summer because we are all optimists at heart.
I had been trying not to use quite so much halloumi – not because I don’t completely love it but because I’ve used it a lot and it must be boring to see another halloumi recipe and boring to eat. However, this recipe goes together so well it would be madness to substitute it for the sake of doing so. Bear with me – I will get you something without halloumi very soon. In the meantime, enjoy it’s saltiness, chewiness and slightly rubbery texture since there is really nothing else like it.
There’s not much to say about duck except that game birds (and I would count duck as game) are rich in protein and omega 3 fats. It’s likely they have a healthier nutritional profile than intensively reared caged birds who have little chance to roam. Apart from this it is a meat we don’t eat an awful lot of and I’m all for variety. So here is the recipe, a little late but better than never.
1 tsp dried ginger
1 tsp cumin
2 pinches of sea salt
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp w wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1tbsp runny honey
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1tsp Dijon mustard
1 pack halloumi (225/250g)
1 bag mixed leaves (watercress, rocket, spinach)
100g walnuts, roughly chopped
2 deliciously ripe peaches (if you're doing this out of peach season you could use canned - but be mindful of sugar content)
Leaving the fat on the duck breasts during cooking gives some moisture to the meat. So … use half the rub, that you will have mixed in a small bowl, on the duck breasts. There’s no need for oil, just use your fingers to rub it into the flesh of the breasts (sorry, that sounds a bit saucy). With the halloumi, cut it into thick slices and with the remaining rub, sprinkle it on to the cheese and press in with your fingertips. Ideally, I would leave these for an hour or so for the flavours to infuse and develop.
To cook the duck, heat a frying pan to a high heat, and when ready place the duck breasts in skin side down. Fry for 8 minutes on this side before turning over and cooking for a further 3-4 minutes flesh side. This will get duck that is pink, but not raw, but not well done either. Take the breasts out of the pan and leave to cool. Now, rinse the pan and heat again – this time a medium heat – and place the halloumi in. About 3-4 minutes on each side. You want the watery residue to disappear and the halloumi to crisp up and become brown. Again, take it out and leave on one side and rinse the pan. Now take the walnuts and fry for a few minutes until you can smell their nutty smell and they are very very slightly browned. Take them out and chop – just a little – you want them to be walnuts still, not nut dust.
Making the dressing is easy. Put all the ingredients in a screwtop jar and shake.
Next, slice the duck into slices. Slice the peaches too. Now assemble your salad. First divide and scatter the leaves on to two pretty plates. Now scatter the peaches, then add the duck and halloumi and finally sprinkle the nuts on top and around. When you’re ready to serve drizzle some of the dressing on top and put the rest in a jug on the table.