The delicate but perfumed flavour of this unusual fruit is a great match for duck and cooking it in sugar and spice, as I have done here, gives a really exciting twist to this salad. You may want to cook a few quinces and store them for another time, or you could even cook them for longer in the pan and serve with ice-cream at another time.
1 small quince
A small piece of cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
Half a lemon
10 black peppercorns
Cubed fat from the duck
Duck underfillets, livers and heart
A handful of small salad leaves
For the dressing
1/2 tbsp sherry vinegar
2tbsp walnut oil
Peel, quarter and cut out the core of the quince, and place into a saucepan with the sugar, cinnamon, peppercorns, bay leaf and lemon with enough water to cover. Lay a circle of greaseproof paper over the top and bring to the boil and simmer for an hour or until the quince is tender. Meanwhile, place the pieces of duck fat in a small frying pan on a low heat and cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring every so often or until the pieces of duck fat are crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon on to some kitchen paper and season with a little salt (reserve the fat for roast potatoes at a later date), leaving about 1 tablespoon in the frying pan to cook your liver, heart and fillet.
Season the liver, heart and fillet, and heat a little of the duck fat in the frying pan. Cook the
liver and heart first for a couple of minutes on each side on a high heat, keeping them pink, then add the fillet to the pan and cook for about 20 seconds on each side.
Mix the ingredients of the dressing together. To assemble the salad, toss the leaves in the dressing and arrange on plates. Slice the liver, heart and fillet on the bias and scatter into the salad.
Remove the quince from the syrup and thinly slice using as much or as little as you want to add to the salad. Finally, scatter the crispy fat over the salad.