Viet inspired Duck Salad
Kind of a French-Viet inspired duck a l’oronge (Adapted from Indochine by Luke Nguyen,) this is the kind of salad when you want something substantial in the form of protein, sweet, salty & spicy. Fresh light and pretty, the original recipe calls for a whole duck served simply with fresh, crusty baguettes. Definitely worth checking out on the link above, or better yet the book of course!
I’m serving two here so double the recipe if serving for four or adjust accordingly:
1 Duck breast per serve,
A little oil, (vegetable, or light olive oil is fine)
1 orange, zested & juiced
a few Schezuan peppercorns,
1 Star anise bud
a generous pinch (or two) of Sugar
Fish sauce & Soy sauce (to taste)
2 Garlic cloves
1 Ginger knob (thumb size)
1 Dried chilli-crumbled
Lemon cheeks to serve,
Few tbsp of Toasted sesame seeds
1/2 Sliced red onion
Few Coriander fronds per plate,
Few vietnamese mint leaves or (regular mint if you prefer)
A handful of Green beans (sliced and blanched) -if you have more people to feed, add a couple of handfuls.
1 cup of Shredded cabbage
Salad Dressing: lemon juice and any debris from the pan, along with a little fish sauce, sugar and water.
You’ll need a frying pan, a large bowl & colander for soaking the vermicelli noodles, some measuring cups and a sturdy chopping board and knife.
First step is to prep all the ingredients, salt the skin on the duck breasts and set aside. Measure out your spices, slice the ginger and garlic, zest and juice the orange/s.
You’ll also want to toast those sesame seeds if using & wash the coriander. Blanch the sliced green beans in some boiling water and finely shred some cabbage (chiffonade style.) Slice some spanish onion and lovely lemon cheeks for the sides.
Prepare the vermicelli noodles, (I like to soak my noodles in freshly boiled water for 2 mins and drain them/then refresh in cold water before using.
Start the duck breasts skin side down with a little oil in the frying pan until golden brown. You want to render out some of the fat first, (drain it off and keep aside for cooking another day, ie roast potatoes, yum!)
Over a medium heat toast the spices in the pan, once fragrant add the orange zest and juice along with a little sugar to help it caramelise, (a generous pinch or two should do.)
Add a few splashes of fish sauce and soy sauce and return the duck breasts (skin side up) to the pan,
Continue to cook basting the duck breasts with the sauce which should soon reduce to a syrup, continue to do so over a medium to low heat. Check the firmness of the duck breasts, when it feels nearly done, flip over skin side down and crisp up the skin. Mine took 10-12 mins in total with equivalent resting time.
Turn off the heat and set aside whilst you assemble the noodle salad.
To make the dressing combine some lemon juice with any debris and caramelised spices from the pan. Add a little fish sauce and a touch of sugar to taste, strain carefully into a small jug or dish.
Using your hands, layer the noodles on a serving plate along with some shredded cabbage, sliced red onion and green beans. Slice the duck breast width ways and balance on top of the salad. Drizzle with some dressing and top with the coriander, finally serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds & the lemon cheeks on the side.