Freekeh Salad with Pan Fried Duck Breast and Pickled Cherries

Serves 2

Ingredients

For the pickled cherries

  • 150g red wine vinegar
  • 150ml water
  • 60g caster sugar
  • Bay leaf
  • Star anise
  • Tsp coriander seeds
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • strip of orange zest
  • Tsp salt
  • Sprig of thyme
  • 250g cherries, halved and pitted
  • 200g freekeh
  • 200g runner beans, topped and tailed and sliced into three on the diagonal
  • 2 duck breasts
  • Pinch of five spice powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley leaves, chopped
  • 100g feta, crumbled
  • tbsp toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

For the dressing

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • tsp red chilli flakes
  • large pinch of sea salt

Directions

First make the pickled cherries. Combine the red wine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, bay, thyme, orange zest and spices in a non-reactive pan and bring to a gentle boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn down to a simmer and add the cherries, cooking for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a sterilised jar to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180.

To cook the freekeh, first wash it in a large bowl of cold water, rubbing it between your fingers to rid the impurities. Rinse in a sieve under more cold water and then cook in boiling salted water for 15 minutes, until tender. Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside.

To make the dressing, place 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a bowl with the dijon mustard, chilli and salt. Add in a tablespoon of the cherry pickling liquor and whisk until silky smooth and emulsified.

To cook the duck breasts, score the fat on the breasts in a cross hatch pattern using a sharp knife. Rub a pinch of five spice powder all over both breasts and then season well with salt and pepper. Heat a non stick, oven proof pan over a medium heat and sear the breasts, fat side down, for about three-five minutes, until golden and crisp and the fat is rendering out. Finish the breasts off in the oven for a further 3-5 minutes. Then remove from the oven and rest.

While the duck is resting, cook the runner beans in plenty of salted boiling water, until bright green and tender - about 5 minutes, drain and rinse under really cold water.

Put the runner beans in a bowl with the chopped shallots and pour over the dressing. Toss to coat and then add in the freekeh, chopped parsley and a tbsp of the drained pickled cherries. Toss together to combine and then divide between plates and crumble over the feta. Top with the sliced duck breasts and chopped hazelnuts.