Salads get a bad rep for being bland a boring, but there's no denying that they're an amazing way to pack in the nutrients and get well on your way to your five a day. Our resident paleo chef, Irena Macri, swears by eating a salad every day. Her key to a perfect plate? A decent serving of protein, lots of colourful vegetables (including leafy greens) and satiating fats, plus a few extra bits and bobs for extra flavour and texture.
Irena will be in the Balance Festival Live Cooking Theatre this Friday (18:20) and Saturday (17:20), cooking up her very best whole and hearty salad recipes. But, if you need a bit of pre-festival inspiration, we've got a delicious and nourishing salad with crispy duck, papaya and ginger dressing straight from Irena's kitchen for you to try today.
Duck is a highly underused protein but it's delicious and plentiful in the UK. Here, it's simply pan-fried and seasoned with a little salt and white pepper for those oriental notes. Plus, the nutritional powerhouse, papaya, is full of antioxidants. It's subtly sweet, which works perfectly with duck, but is still low in sugar. If you can't find papaya (also known as pawpaw to some), feel free to use a sliced up peach, nectarine or mango.
Serves 2, prep time: 15 mins, cook time: 20 mins
- For the ginger dressing
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- Zest of 1/2 small lime
- Juice of 1 small lime
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 tablespoon Tamari sauce
1) Wash and pat dry the duck breasts and leave out of the fridge for about 15 minutes to bring to room temperature. Season with salt and white pepper on each side.
2) Place a frying pan over medium heat and add a small dollop of coconut oil. While the pan is still heating, place the duck breasts, skin side down, to start rendering off the fat. To render off the fat and get that lovely crispy skin, you need to cook the duck skin side down over medium heat, not too hot, as to avoid burning the skin. Cook for 15 minutes. The duck fat will release into the frying pan and you can scoop some of it over the meat. In the meantime, prepare the rest of the ingredients.
3) Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the snow peas. Cook for 1 minute, then strain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
4) Combine the salad dressing in a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
5) After 15 minutes, turn over the duck breasts and turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook on the flesh side for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the duck meat to a cutting board and rest for 2-3 minutes, then slice. The flesh should be juicy, tender and slightly pink inside.
6) Toss the salad leaves together with sliced chilli, coriander, cherry tomatoes, cooked snow peas and papaya. Top with the duck slices and drizzle evenly with the salad dressing.