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Asparagus with Duck, Gruyère Cheese and Saffron Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS

Serves 6

For the Saffron Vinaigrette

  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) champagne vinegar
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • ½ large shallot, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp (90 ml) canola oil
  • Sea salt

 For the Gruyère Fondue

  • ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) whole milk
  • 1½ cups (162 g) grated aged Gruyère cheese, plus 3 tbsp (7 g) extra, for garnish
  • 1 tbsp (14 g) unsalted butter
  • Sea salt

 
For the Roasted Duck

  • 3 (8 oz [227 g]) duck legs
  • ½ cup (90 g) kosher salt
  • 1 tsp (2.5 g) black peppercorns, toasted and finely ground

For the Asparagus Salad

  • 2 lb (907 g) “jumbo” asparagus, tough bottoms trimmed
  • 1 medium head frisee, green tips and thick bottom white parts trimmed
  • ½ bunch (50 g) upland cress leaves
  • Sea salt

 
METHOD

For the Saffron Vinaigrette

  1. In a small saucepan, toast the saffron over low heat for 20 seconds. Add the champagne vinegar and bring to a simmer, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and let cool completely. Transfer to a small bowl; add the shallot and both oils. Season with salt and whisk to combine.

 
For the Gruyère Fondue

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream and milk to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly whisk in the Gruy.re in small batches, then follow with the butter (using an immersion blender works really well for this). For a smoother texture, place the cream and milk mixture in a blender and slowly add the cheese to combine. Season with salt and reserve warm.

 
For the Roasted Duck

  1. Season the duck with the salt and pepper and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to 3 hours; this will cure the duck lightly and pull out moisture to help the skin get crispy.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Pat the duck dry and set the legs skin side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast the duck legs in the top third of the oven for 45–60 minutes, until the meat is tender and the skin is crisp. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Remove the skin and snack on it (that’s what I do every time I make this recipe). Shred the meat into larger pieces, making sure to discard all the bones; reserve the meat until ready to mix the salad. This can be done up to 2 days in advance.

 
For the Asparagus Salad

  1. Fill a large bowl with salted ice water. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the asparagus until they are tender but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain immediately and immerse in the salted ice water to cool completely. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss the asparagus, frisee, upland cress and shredded duck, drizzle with a small amount of the saffron vinaigrette and season with salt. On a large platter or individual plates, spoon a generous amount of the Gruyère fondue in the middle of the plate, arrange the asparagus salad in the middle of the plate and garnish with a little more of the saffron vinaigrette and grated Gruyère.

For more recipes from The New Mediterranean Table: Modern and Rustic Recipes Inspired By Traditions Spanning Three Continents by Sameh Wadi (Page Street Publishing, £18.99) click here