Famous Crispy Duck salad, quicker, no fuss, home version! From Chef Steven Saunders, in Spain

This week Celebrity Chef & Fellow Master Chef Steven Saunders, proprietor of The Little Geranium in La Cala shares a new revised signature recipe accompanied by an exclusive easy to follow YouTube video!

I HAVE been cooking for over 40 years, so you would expect that I might have a few signature dishes up my sleeve over that time!

One of the dishes that I will always be remembered for is my crispy duck salad which has been with me since opening my first restaurant in Cambridgeshire in the UK in 1986, The Pink Geranium.

Regular clients and readers would have seen my previous recipes and articles for this dish. However, it’s not so easy to cook the original one at home because of the slow confit process of the duck legs and because the sauce is made freshly from an infusion of loads of spices and flavours cooked slowly for many hours.

So this week I went to work on creating an easier version of this popular dish. In truth, at one point I wanted to lose the dish as a signature because like everything (as the creator) you get to the point of wanting to do something totally different.

So I wrote a menu a few years ago without it on and was totally bombed out with complaints, emails, personal notes and WhatsApp messages all saying …where is the crispy duck?

It soon went back on the menu!

Sales of the duck salad at lunch and dinner are by far the highest of all my popular dishes and I have dishes like surf and turf, beef wellington, prawn tempura and hand-dived scallops with steamed Galician clams, the duck salad outsells them all! It has stood the test of time and is always No.1 on the Geranium sales charts!

However you will still need some time to make this recipe, all good food takes a bit of time.
You need to roast the duck and make the sauce but the roasting process is far easier than the original confit recipe. Also, the sauce can be made up in advance and kept in plastic or glass bottles in your fridge.

The base of the new sauce is a bought-in sauce but we infuse flavours to make it feel homemade. So I think we have a good version which is far simpler and it tastes amazing!

Michele and chef Steven at home trying to keep sane!

Especially for Euro Weekly News readers, I have created a step by step YouTube video to go with this recipe. All you have to do is go to the website https://euroweeklynews.com or http://www.thelittlegeranium.com click on the video link and watch it.

No need to write the recipe down because here it is below! What could be more fun than to make our famous crispy duck this weekend?… Enjoy!

New (home version) Crispy Duck salad (a whole duck serves eight)
I would recommend looking in the freezer sections of the supermarket to find a duck.  You should see a whole duck usually called Pato Peking.

Ingredients for the duck:
1 whole duck (defrosted) with legs removed
500ml of vegetable oil
Maldon salt
A little fresh thyme or rosemary
4 cloves garlic
6 heaped tablespoons of cornflour
1 tablespoon of mixed spice or Chinese 5 spice

For the special sauce
250 ml of sweet chilli sauce
2 tablespoons of good quality soy sauce
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons of sesame oil
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 teaspoons of hot red sauce like Tabasco or similar
1 stick of cinnamon
1 piece of ginger 2/ 3 cm peeled but not cut (leave whole)
1 piece of star anise (optional, not essential)
2 whole peeled cloves of garlic
1 small glass of red wine
Juice of 1 lemon

For the Salad
Assorted salad leaves
1 red onion peeled and finely chopped
1 small bunch of fresh coriander (picked, so that you have little sprigs)
1 small piece of fresh root ginger peeled and sliced finely (like Julienne)
The seeds of 1 fresh pomegranate

For Pickled Cucumber
½ a cucumber (or a whole small cucumber) seeds removed then sliced
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of white wine
2 flat tablespoons of white sugar
Pinch of salt

Method for cucumber
Heat the vinegar wine and sugar together until the sugar dilutes but does not colour.
Allow to cool, so that it is no hotter than warm and pour over the cut cucumber
Allow it to marinate the cucumber for at least an hour

Method to cook duck
Remove the legs of the duck and remove any of the inside left in the duck-like the neck or livers.

Wash the duck inside and out.
Place the duck into a Pyrex baking dish or similar, breasts down (upside down).
Place legs in the same dish and pour over the vegetable oil then the thyme or rosemaryand throw in the garlic.
Finally season with Maldon salt.

In a preheated oven (200c) roast the duck for 20 minutes and then lower the heat to 150c and cook slowly for two hours.

Check the duck it should be cooked but not be too crisp (the oil will help keep it moist and soft) If it needs longer put it back in the low oven for another 30 minutes.

When the meat falls away from the bone easily remove from oven and allow to cool.

Now (wearing latex gloves) remove the meat from the entire duck avoiding any bone and gristle.

Break the meat down with your fingertips to create a bowl full of picked duck meat. Reserve

To make the special sauce
Simply mix together all the ingredients into a saucepan and warm through on a medium heat. Simmer until all the flavours amalgamate well.
Simmer for at least 20 minutes.
Now remove the big pieces of garlic, cinnamon, star anise, ginger etc.
Pour into a jug or into a plastic squeezy bottle.

To construct
Toss the picked duck into the cornflour and coat evenly but not thickly.
Cook in a deep fat fryer (or wok with veg oil) in 2/ 3 batches NOT ALL TOGETHER at a temperature of approx. 190c
Allow to cook for 1 minute at 190c then remove and drain onto kitchen paper and season with salt and the mixed spices and then cook the next batch.
Dress the salad leaves with a standard vinaigrette style dressing or oil and vinegar.
Toss the herbs, onion and ginger through the salad with the pomegranate seeds and the pickled cucumber.

Now dress the crispy duck meat with the special sauce to coat well but don’t over coat it! Mix the duck and the salad together and serve in a large bowl in the centre of the table or in small individual bowls.

Watch the Video on Youtube and please subscribe and like!

Follow Steven on Instagram ….saunderschef
The Little Geranium, Winner of Best International Restaurant Spain…2020

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Steven Saunders

Steven Saunders FMCGB - The Little Geranium - La Cala de Mijas & Marbella