A couple of weeks ago I made blackberry vinegar, and since then I’ve been looking for just about any excuse to use it.
This is the perfect vehicle for that condiment. It would, I should say, be a glorious dish, even without the vinegar. It’s dark and moody and autumnal, but light enough to eat whilst the weather still occasionally throws an uncomfortably humid day at us. But it is brought to life by the blackberry vinegar: the combination of the crunchy, salty duck skin with the sweetsour, fruity vinegar is perfect.
Do use any grains you like for this dish: I used a mixture of quinoa and bulgar wheat, but this would be great with spelt; next time I’m going to do it with pearl barley.
It goes like this:
Duck and blackberry salad
Makes: Lunch for two
Takes: 30 minutes
Bakes: 30 minutes
1 duck breast
100g dried grains of your choice, or 250g pre-prepared grains
2 generous handfuls of watercress
Half a dozen blackberries
3 small balls of pickled beetroot
2 tablespoons of blackberry vinegar or, balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Score the skin of the duck, without cutting into the flesh. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Put the breast skin side down into a cold pan and place over a medium heat for 6-8 minutes. Turn over and sear the other side for 30 seconds.
2. Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes. If your grains need boiling/preparing, now is the time to do so. Remove and rest for another ten minutes. Slice thinly on the diagonal.
3. Place the grains and watercress in a circle on the plate, and layer with discs of beetroot.
4. Place the sliced duck in the centre of the plates, slightly laddered. Dot with blackberries and then drizzle the whole thing generously with blackberry vinegar.
Icing on the Cake
We ate this with really good bread, because we’re Northern and no meal is truly a meal without bread and butter and a cup of tea, but it would absolutely stand alone without it. It’s a great anytime meal but also would be a fab dinner party starter, or a decadent packed lunch.