Freekeh salad with pan fried duck breast and pickled cherries recipe

Pickled cherries go perfectly with the duck in this Mediterranean salad.


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.

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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