Wild duck salad with cobnuts and elderberries

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Elderberries hit their peak as the mallard, or wild duck, appears on the game calendar. And what good timing because they are the perfect marriage, whether you drop them into a sauce, make a jam or jelly to go with the bird or toss them together in a seasonal salad like this one. Teal, widgeon or pintail ducks make a very good alternative. Or use a normal, good-quality duck. To give the salad a nice, autumnal feel I've chosen red-coloured leaves. Don't be tempted to use radicchio, though, as the leaves are quite bitter for wild duck.

Elderberries hit their peak as the mallard, or wild duck, appears on the game calendar. And what good timing because they are the perfect marriage, whether you drop them into a sauce, make a jam or jelly to go with the bird or toss them together in a seasonal salad like this one. Teal, widgeon or pintail ducks make a very good alternative. Or use a normal, good-quality duck. To give the salad a nice, autumnal feel I've chosen red-coloured leaves. Don't be tempted to use radicchio, though, as the leaves are quite bitter for wild duck.

2 wild ducks, cleaned
25-30 cobnuts, shelled
60-70g small, preferably red-tinged salad leaves such as oak leaf, red mustard leaf, red Batavia, red chard, etc, washed and dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the dressing

20-30g elderberries
11/2tbsp good-quality red wine vinegar such as cabernet sauvignon
4tbsp walnut oil

Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC /gas mark 7. Season the wild ducks, inside and out, brush with a little vegetable oil and roast in a roasting tray for 30 minutes, basting every so often. Remove from the tray and leave to cool for about 15 minutes on a plate to catch any juices.

Meanwhile put the cobnuts on some foil on a roasting tray, roll them in a little olive oil and season with a generous amount of salt. Roast them for 10-12 minutes until they are a light golden colour.

Cut the legs off the ducks, remove the meat with a sharp knife and shred the meat roughly into chunky sized pieces. Remove the breasts and cut them into six slices, and add the meat juices if it seems a little dry.

Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together and seasoning to taste. Lightly dress the leaves with half of the dressing and arrange on plates. Arrange the pieces of duck on and in amongst the leaves and scatter over the cobnuts. Spoon the rest of the dressing over the salads.

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