There's nothing wrong with a stew, roast or big bowl of creamy pasta when you're in the mood - I love them, too - but there are times when it's cold outside and you don't feel like weighing yourself down with a big meal. Duck is surprisingly easy to cook, so don't let it intimidate you. Paired with a hoisin vinaigrette, this recipe is a bit like a Peking duck pancake in salad form.
4 duck breasts
1 red onion, peeled, halved and finely sliced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 Lebanese cucumber, finely sliced
2 cups loosely packedrocket leaves
1 bunch watercress, picked and thick stalks discarded
1 pomegranate, seeds only (see tip*)
1 cup mint leaves
1 small red chilli, sliced
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Place the duck breasts skin-down in a cold frying pan and place the pan over low-medium heat for 10-12 minutes, until the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp and golden.
2. Turn the breasts over and cook on the meat side for about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and rest for at least 5 minutes in a warm place, then season with salt and thinly slice when ready to serve.
3. For the hoisin vinaigrette, whisk the hoisin sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce and pepper together, then gradually whisk in the olive oil.
4. Combine the onion, cucumber, rocket, watercress, pomegranate and mint in a large bowl and toss well. Toss some of the dressing through the salad and divide among four plates. Place the duck on top and drizzle with a little more dressing.
5. Scatter with the finely sliced chilli to serve.
*To get the "jewels" out of a pomegranate easily, cut or break it in half and repeatedly and firmly tap the fruit's hard shell with a tablespoon. The seeds will just fall out.