roast duck and squash salad

amazingly, there were leftovers from the duck we roasted the other day. this is a rare occurrence in n1 kitchen. there are, occasionally, bits of chicken dutifully stripped from the carcass destined for the stock pot, saved in the fridge in some tin foil. but more often than not, they'll end up getting eaten as a snacklet, something to gnaw on while cooking or, most likely, the thing that rich will pick at after he's arrived home from work, before he's taken his shoes off or got changed. (which sounds very 1950's, come to think of it.)

it was a large duck. really, the duck i went out to buy was an imaginary one. i know full well that you either get a mallard, i.e. a small wild duck, or a proper, big christmas-for-six number. yet i though i would get some mythical creature that was a cross between the two.

of course, when i got to the butcher’s, the duck in the cabinet was a stonker of a bird, yours for £14.99. we  bought it at rich’s insistence.

this salad was a great way of using the leftovers. in fact, i think it was one of the dinners i've enjoyed most in a while. i think it would be very nice with other meat too, though chicken might be a bit too bland. some rare roast beef would work - it seems to go well with limey, spicy thing, as vietnamese beef salads demonstrate more than adequately.

i admit it's a bit of a faff to make but it really is worth it.

for two

leftover duck meat, stripped from about half of a roast duck
a small bunch of mint leaves, chopped roughly

for the roast squash:
1 dried chilli, crumbled
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
a pinch of ground cinnamon
1/2 butternut squash, cut into half and deeseded but keep the seeds

for the dressing:
1 lime, zest and juice
1/2 tsp of sesame oil
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 fresh red chilli, chopped finely (or less, to taste)
1/2 clove of garlic, finely chopped
2-3 spring onions, finely sliced (including the green bits)
a bunch of coriander, finely chopped
olive oil

first, roast the squash. preheat the oven to 180C. crush the coriander seeds and chilli together in a pestle and mortar, add the cinnamon and a good pinch of salt and pepper. cut the squash into large chunks, sprinkle over the spices and roast for around 45 minutes or until the flesh is soft when pierced with a knife and the edges are starting to caramelise.

for the last ten minutes of the cooking time, warm the stripped duck meat. i just put it all in a piece of foil, scrunch it up and put it directly onto an oven shelf.

while that's happening, wash the squash seeds you've saved and dry them on a cloth. now mix them with a little salt and some olive oil and then dry fry in a pan until they're nice and crunchy. they'll start popping so be careful or you'll have a kitchen full of exploding seeds. kinda dangerous.

put all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix it all through with enough olive oil to be dressing-like. taste - you'll probably need a little bit of something. i ended up putting in more sesame oil which seemed to balance the lime.

to assemble, mix the duck and the squash with the dressing and the crunchy seeds, and finally sprinkle over with some chopped mint.


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