After four months of leave, I am back to work. Back to rushed dinner times and new to days without Ducky (boohoo!). In preparation, I have been auditioning quick, tasty dinners. And while not exactly seasonal, salads play the part rather well. Like this Vietnamese salad with duck. Mixing the dressing and prepping salad ingredients happens while the duck cooks and rests. Slicing the meat and assembling plates takes a few minutes. With bread on the side, dinner can be done in under half an hour, and I am free to nom on those cheeks I have missed.
Vietnamese salad with duck breast
Adapted from Dinner in a Dash, Lindsey Bareham
- 1 duck breast
- 1 red onion
- 1 bag of salad greens
- 2 carrots
- 1 small cucumber
- Handful of cilantro leaves
- A few mint leaves
For the dressing:
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla) or similar
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
Score the skin of the duck breast, cutting down to the flesh, but not into it. Heat a skillet, put in the duck breast skin side down and sear over high heat for about 6 minutes, until golden brown. Turn over and fry for about 4 more minutes, until it feels springy when pressed. Set aside for at least ten minutes before slicing.
While the duck is frying, mix the ingredients for the dressing and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Peel the onion and slice into thin half moons. Add the onion to the dressing, leave to stand. Peel the carrots and slice into thin coins. Peel the cucumber, scrape out the seeds and slice thinly into diagonal slices. Add the coins and slices to the dressing, mix thoroughly. Shred the cilantro and mint. Add the cilantro to the vegetables.
After its rest, slice the duck breast into thick slices on the diagonal. Divide the salad leaves over two plates (wash and dry first, if the bag tells you to), top with the dressing and vegetables. Finish with the duck slices and scatter over the mint. Done.