I little while ago I made a promise that I would start to bring more exciting salad recipes to Chew Town. It was definitely an aspect of my recipes that I wanted to improve upon. I’ve always focused more on proteins and vegetables, and while I do eat a lot of green salads as sides, the Italian way of salads is more simplistic than fancy.
I recently visited the Orange Grove markets in Leichhardt with Belly Rumbles in search of micro herbs and with a firm view to buy some wonderful ingredients and make a spectacular salad. Upon arrival at Orange Grove, I knew that I would find everything I was looking for. It is hard to not want to buy everything possible at Orange Grove when you arrive, but with only two people in our household, one must restrain ones self. So, I stuck firmly to the salad plan and as I started collecting complementary ingredients a wonderful salad recipe started formulating. The jewel in the crown was the gorgeous smoked duck breast I picked up from one of the stall owners and the perfect base for the salad was a combination of the most spectacular selection of micro herbs from Darling Mills Farm.
I left the markets elated and the moment I got home I couldn’t stop thinking about making this salad. But sadly I had eaten so much at the markets (how ridiculously good are those Bowen’s bacon and egg rolls?!) so had to hold off on making my salad till dinnertime.
Even though I had firmly decided the salad would wait till dinner, I had to ensure it would be tasty and filling enough to keep me interested. Firstly I sat down and began writing out all the ingredients I had bought and then added other elements we had in the house that could enhance it further. Firstly, I realised that I could probably add a little more flavour to the roasted beetroot by roasting it tossed with maple syrup. Then I came to the conclusion that my salad was missing some nutty crunch, so with a bag of unsalted shelled pistachios at the back of the pantry, I set about making candied pistachios (ever since the Ricotta and Coffee Liqueur I’ve been finding excuses to candy every nut I can find!).
This smoked duck, maple beetroot and orange salad sort of organically came together in the end. The early prep of the roasted beetroot and candied pistachios meant it was assembled in a matter of minutes, and after first taste I was finally the owner of a wonderful, tasty and interesting salad recipe – its a dream I’ve had ever since my mouthwatering viewing of John’s spectacular salad recipes over at He Needs Food (he is truly the salad god!).
Smoked Duck, Maple Beetroot and Orange Salad
1 smoked duck breast
2 red beetroot, peeled and cut into small wedges
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup toasted pistachios
Micro salad mix
1 orange, segmented
2 tablespoons lemon olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Ricatta Salta sheep’s milk cheese (can substitute for another hard sheep’s milk cheese)
Preheat oven to 180° Celsius.
In a baking dish combine beetroot segments maple syrup and plain olive oil ensuring the beetroot is well coated. Season with salt and pepper and bake until tender and fragrant (about 20 minutes).
While beetroot is roasting, prepare the candied pistachios as follows. Place sugar into a medium saucepan and pop on the stovetop on medium heat. Stir the sugar with a wooden spoon until the sugar begins to melt. Keep stirring until the sugar has melted and turns a golden colour.
Once the sugar is golden, take off the heat and immediately add the pistachio. Working quickly, stir the pistachios until coated in the sugar mixture. Then transfer pistachios from the saucepan to a lined baking tray and separate the kernels from each other using two forks (as the nuts will be extremely hot). Set aside to cool.
To assemble the salad place the micro salad leaves on the base of your dish, top with the beetroot and orange segments and pistachios. Slice the duck breast into even 1/2 cm slices and place on top of the salad.
In a small ramekin stir together the lemon olive oil and balsamic vinegar until combined and evenly pour over the salad. Top with a small crumble of the sheep’s milk cheese.