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Lesley Waters recipe: warm duck salad

PUBLISHED: 12:52 18 December 2013 | UPDATED: 12:54 18 December 2013

Juicy pomegranate and its half with leaves.

Juicy pomegranate and its half with leaves.

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Christmas is a-coming and along with it the best excuse for a bit of glitz and sparkle around the house. Strolling through the town, I enjoy looking at the shops full of beautiful decorations, lights and trees to adorn your home. But not for me, a co-ordinated display and refined tree, whilst I greatly admire the designer look, I just can’t give up my eclectic box of favourite family decorations, with all the memories of Christmas past.

First out of storage will be the wide Victorian-style ribbons for draping around the tree, closely followed by my fold-up lantern-style Father Christmas. I’m happy to admit that I always get carried away with more than a few poinsettias for around the house, but the highlight of my unpacking will be my string of lights (shaped like red chillies!) for the kitchen. As regulars at the cookery school will know, my faithful chilli string has been the backdrop of many a Christmas demonstration but, as Christmas Eve approaches, they always make their way back to my house to create my very own kitchen festive twinkle.

So with my chilli lights up, it’s on with the cooking. Gloss, glitz and glamour are all ‘de rigueur’ for the Christmas table. Vibrant cranberries, shimmering salmon, creamy blue stilton, glossy chocolates and shiny glace fruits are just a few of the seasonal foods that strike a note of luxury on what, for most of us, is the biggest celebration of the year and I think my seasonal recipe embraces the spirit of Christmas perfectly. In this dish, rich duck marries perfectly with fresh orange, red onion and green parsley and the jewels of pomegranate provide the essential glitz. It’s the perfect combination for a luxurious festive supper with just the right amount Christmas sparkle.

So, all that remains is for me to put my glad rags on, pop open a cork and wish you all a very merry (and sparkly!) Christmas!

Ingredients - Serves 4

4 small duck breasts, skin on

Sea salt

100g Puy lentils

1 small red onion, finely sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

3tbsp olive oil

1 pomegranate, seeds removed

1 large orange, segmented and juice reserved

1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly torn

Method

1 Pre-heat the oven to 200°C, Gas Mark 6. With a small knife, score the skin of the duck in a lattice fashion and rub each with a little sea salt.

2 Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and place the duck breasts in, skin side down, for 3-4 minutes until golden, then turn over and sear for a further 30 seconds. Transfer to the oven on a wire rack over a roasting tin, skin side up.

3 Roast the duck in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep warm, leaving to rest for 10 minutes.

4 Meanwhile, place the lentils in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes.

5 Mix the remaining ingredients together in a large bowl. Drain the cooked lentils well and add to the bowl whilst still warm. Mix well to combine and season to taste.

6 Remove the duck from the oven, allow to rest for 5 minutes. Arrange the salad between four plates or bowls. Cut the duck crossways into slices and arrange on top of the salad. Serve straight away.

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