Vegetarian dishes have taken centre stage over here lately. This change of direction was never a conscious decision, more that it was a natural evolution as a higher proportion of my professional culinary work this last year has been for vegetarian and vegan focussed clients. I’ve loved the challenge of making vegetarian food more interesting without relying on cheese, and I definitely think it has altered my relationship with meat. I’m now choosing to eat meat less often, but looking for better quality and the ultimate taste experience when I do – which nicely leads me to this week’s dish involving duck breast.
I chose to name the vegetables in this dish tittle before the duck, as I think it gives the vegetables a higher degree of self importance like they deserve. A concept successfully initiated and maintained at Bruno Loubet’s Grain Store restaurant in London which I was lucky to enjoy a few weeks ago. I might just keep this up!
Since the colourful heritage carrot season has been with us in the UK, I’ve been preparing them my favourite way as often as I can; with lemon zest, olive oil, salt and caraway seeds. Carrots love caraway seeds, their sweetness balances the aniseed of the caraway in such an interesting way. A perfect side dish, yet I really wanted to give them more prominence so it seemed just for me to develop a full main course recipe using these simple ingredients. Sadly the week I came to photograph this recipe I didn’t manage to get my hands on the purple or yellow carrots, so settled for the sweet tang of parsnips to match the normal orange carrots instead. Do feel free to use whichever roots you want!
Keen on caraway and looking for some additional ideas? You can use them to flavour bread like I have done in my Imitation Rye Flat Bread or Farmersgirl Kitchen’s has done with her Rye and Caraway Bread. Or perhaps partner them again with carrots in a slaw; Carrot, Apple and Brussels Sprouts Slaw by Recipes from a Pantry / Polish Carrot and Apple Slaw by Ren Behan’s are two fine examples.
Duck breast is beautiful a little rarer that these photos are showing, so if you care for rare please go for it! That’ll teach me to spend time multi tasking to get my photo studio (err living room) ready whilst the duck is cooking.
- 2 duck breasts
- 2 large carrots, scrubbed, peel on and cut into batons
- 2 medium parsnips, scrubbed, peel on and cut into batons
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- Zest of half a lemon
- drizzle honey
- The seeds from half a pomegranate
- Small handful of coriander leaf, chopped
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Tbs full fat natural yoghurt
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp smoked salt
- Pre-heat your oven to 180 C.
- First cook your duck according to packet instructions. This will likely involve, scoring and seasoning the duck, pan frying skin down in a dry pan for 6 minutes, then transferring to an oven for 10-15 minutes (depending on how rare you like your duck), then resting for 10 minutes before slicing up.
- Toss the carrot and parsnip batons in a tsp of olive oil, the caraway seeds, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt. Lay on a baking tray and finish with a drizzle of honey. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes of until fork tender and slightly charred.
- Whilst the roots are cooking make your dressing by simply stirring all the ingredients together.
- Toss the warm carrots with the chopped coriander and pomegranate (leaving some for top garnish), then plate up with the sliced duck. Drizzle over the creamy dressing and serve immediately