Whoa there big fella... put the brakes on a little will ya! I mean, what the heck happened to November, much less December? We're ticking days off the calendar before we can blink, and Christmas is just ten days away. Woot!
Somehow, December crept up on us at The Blue House, and now life is suddenly crazy busy. We haven't put the tree up yet, and our Christmas cards are still waiting to be posted. Present-shopping has only just begun and there are dinner parties to attend almost every other evening. The garden needs attention and my kitchen bench has undergone some sort of explosion, with cook's tools and ingredients for edible-gift-making from one end to the other. Get the picture? Same thing happening at yours, or do you have it all under precision control, my lovely friends? ヽ(•́o•̀)ノ
At times like this, it's good to step back, relax and take a few breaths. Meals times and entertaining need not be stressful, particularly when one has access to some beautifully fresh summer produce, such as cherries and salad greens.
The recipe I'm sharing with you is a simple, yet inspired, summer dish of cherries with salad greens and roasted duck a la Nigel Slater or Jamie Oliver. It serves two as a light meal or four as an entree. Enjoy.
CHERRIES WITH SALAD GREENS AND ROASTED DUCK
1-2 roasted duck legs (approximately 200g each), sliced into bite sized morsels*
salad greens/mesclun with snow pea sprouts, baby spinach leaves (four handfuls), washed, patted dry
12 baby green beans, washed and sliced
250g fresh cherries, washed, sliced in half, de-stoned
Arrange the salad greens, snow pea spouts, baby spinach leaves and sliced (raw) green beans in a serving bowl. Decorate with the cherry halves and set aside to chill, while the duck is cooking (or while you are slicing your store bought duck). When you are ready to serve, arrange the morsels of duck meat with skin on and around the salad, then season and dress and serve the dish immediately.
For the dressing:
I used a blood plum finishing vinegar mixed with extra virgin olive oil and seasoned the salad with sea salt and pepper. The blood plum vinegar, with the cherries, helps to cut the richness of the duck. You could add a little mustard or use Balsamic if preferred.
*Buy fresh duck and cook your own; or purchase some roasted duck from your favourite Asian grocery store. To cook from scratch, preheat your oven to 180-190 degrees C. Place the duck legs skin side down in a preheated cast iron pan over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Turn them over and sear the meat for a minute or two. Next, place the legs skin side up on a baking tray and pop them into the oven for up to 45 minutes until they are cooked to perfection. Allow the meat to rest before slicing. (And keep any fat for cooking potatoes!).
So tell me, dear readers... how are you plans for the festive season coming along? Is your tree already up? And what's cooking in your kitchen?
My cherries have come from the kindly folks at Cherry Hill Orchards in Victoria, with another box delivered fresh to my door from Farmhouse Direct. There have also been some beauties at the Capital Region Farmers Market, held every Saturday morning just minutes from my home. In fact, I'm munching on them right now!
A simple yet inspired summer dish...
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.