In China, duck is often cooked gently in a master stock for several hours to impart flavour, then deep-fried for texture. This salad is a cheat’s version, using store-bought roast duck for a light and easy entertaining alternative.
- ½ small Jap pumpkin, cut into wedges
- 2 tbsp each of mirin and sake
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- For deep-frying: vegetable oil
- 1 Chinese roast duck, cut into 12 pieces (see note)
- 2 cups (loosely packed) watercress sprigs
- 50 gm walnut halves, roasted (½ cup)
- 1 tsp walnut oil (see note)
- 65 gm light palm sugar (¼ cup)
- 60 ml cabernet sauvignon vinegar (¼ cup)
- 4 plums (such as red), cheeks removed
- 1Preheat oven to 220C. Combine pumpkin wedges with mirin, sake and olive oil on an oven tray, toss to coat evenly, then roast, turning once, for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Set aside.
- 2Meanwhile, for caramelised vinegar plums, place sugar in a saucepan over high heat and cook for 1-2 minutes or until light caramel, add vinegar, return to the boil, add plums cheeks, reduce heat to low and cook for 1 minute or until plums begin to just soften. Cool.
- 3Heat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or large deep saucepan to 190C. Deep-fry duck, in batches, for 3-5 minutes or until crisp and deep golden, then drain on absorbent paper.
- 4Arrange watercress, pumpkin and duck on plates, spoon caramelised vinegar plums over, scatter with walnuts, drizzle with walnut oil and serve immediately.
Chinese roast duck is available from Chinese barbecue restaurants and some Chinese butchers. Walnut oil is available from select delicatessens and supermarkets. Substitute with good-quality peanut oil.
Drink Suggestion: Grenache rosé. Drink suggestion by Max Allen