Cooking-apples and celeriac are both loners - they're not that easy to match with anything else. But together they are great, especially with grilled duck breast, as a change from roast. Duck and apple is a classic combination, and adding the celeriac makes it not just a sauce but a complete meal. There are some very good large, meaty English ducks around and you could buy a whole one and use the legs for another meal. Otherwise it's easy to buy duck breasts from most good butchers and supermarkets.
4 duck breasts weighing about 180-200g each
1 small celeriac, weighing about 500g, peeled and cut into rough chunks
1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
A good knob of butter
Caster sugar to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the celeriac in boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes until tender, drain and mash with a potato masher or ricer. Meanwhile melt the butter in a thick-bottomed sauce pan, add the apple and cook on a medium heat, stirring every so often for 8-10 minutes until the apple starts to disintegrate. Mash it and mix with the celeriac to get the right balance of flavour - apples vary in size so taste as you go. You can mash them as finely, or coarsely, as you wish. Taste the mixture and add a little caster sugar if the apple is a bit tart, then leave it to keep warm.
Meanwhile with a sharp knife cut incisions into the skin of the duck about 1/3cm apart. Pre-heat a ribbed griddle or heavy-bottomed frying pan. Season the duck breasts and cook skin-side down for 3-4 minutes then turn them over and cook for a further 3-4 minutes then turn over and cook for another couple of minutes on the skin, draining any excess fat as they are cooking.
Leave the duck to rest for 3-4 minutes then carve into 6 or 7 slices across the breast and serve on the plate with a spoonful of the mash.Reuse content