Nathan Outlaw’s Home Kitchen: Three delicious salad recipes

Moving from the professional kitchen to the dishes he cooks for his family and friends at his own table, Nathan Outlaw’s everyday recipes are fuss-free and will be easily devoured from breakfasts to his speciality, Sunday lunches

Nathan Outlaw
Friday 07 April 2017 16:04

Chicory, pear, blue cheese and walnut salad

Serves 4

4 heads of chicory
100ml white wine
100ml white wine vinegar
100ml water
100ml caster sugar
4 pickled walnuts
3 ripe, firm pears
100g blue cheese, such as Cornish Blue, Bath Blue or Stilton Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

For the dressing

2 free-range egg yolks
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp caster sugar
100ml olive oil 
​150ml double cream 

To garnish

A bunch of watercress, leaves picked

Trim the bases from the chicory and separate the leaves. Put the white wine, wine vinegar, water and sugar into a medium pan together with a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Place half the chicory leaves in a bowl and pour over the pickling liquor, making sure the chicory is fully submerged or it will start to brown. Cover with cling film and leave until cold. To make the dressing, put the egg yolks, lemon juice and sugar into a blender and blitz until smooth.

Add the olive oil in a steady stream until it is all incorporated. Add the cream and blitz briefly to combine, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until needed. To assemble the salad, drain the pickled chicory and place in a large bowl with the raw chicory. Slice the pickled walnuts and add them to the bowl. Peel, halve, core and slice the pears, then add to the salad.

Crumble in the cheese and toss gently to mix. Add a good drizzle of dressing and mix carefully so as not to bruise the leaves. Season with salt and pepper.

Lay the salad on a large platter, scatter over the watercress and drizzle with the remaining dressing to serve.

Crispy duck leg and cucumber salad with mint and chilli

I adore crispy duck and always order it if I see it on a menu. At home, I prepare and serve it like this with a cucumber salad, which is lovely eaten on its own too. This recipe also works well with pieces of leftover roast chicken or leg of lamb in place of the roasted duck leg.

Serves 4

4 duck legs, skin on
Oil for deep-frying
4 tbsp cornflour
3 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

For the salad

2 cucumbers
2 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
70ml white wine vinegar
50g caster sugar
2 tsp mustard seeds
100ml water
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce 

To finish

20 mint leaves, finely sliced

Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 165°C/Gas 4. Score the skin on the duck legs in a few places and season all over with salt and pepper. Place the duck legs on a wire rack over an oven tray and roast for 1 hour.

In the meantime, for the salad, peel, halve and deseed one of the cucumbers, then slice thinly and place in a large bowl. Put the chillies, shallots, wine vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds and water into a pan and bring to the boil. Pour the boiling pickling liquor over the cucumber slices, making sure they are all submerged. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to cool and lightly pickle the cucumber.

When the duck has been in the oven for 1 hour, cover it with foil and cook for a further 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave until cool enough to handle comfortably. Meanwhile, halve, deseed and slice the other cucumber. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or other deep, heavy-based pan to 180°C.

Mix the cornflour and five-spice powder together in a large bowl. Tear the duck skin into pieces and pick the meat off the bone. When the meat is fairly cool, toss it through the cornflour mix, then season with salt. In batches, carefully fry the duck meat and skin in the hot oil for 2 minutes until crispy. Drain on kitchen paper; keep warm.

Drain the pickled cucumber. In a large bowl, combine the pickled and freshly sliced cucumber, sesame oil and soy sauce. Add the fried duck and toss to combine, then divide between warmed bowls and scatter over the sliced mint to serve.

Rabbit, celeriac and sugar snap pea salad

This salad is incredibly tasty. Earthy pickled celeriac marries perfectly with the rich walnut salad cream and succulent confit rabbit. I’ve also used kohlrabi, Jerusalem artichokes and turnips in place of the celeriac – they all work well.

Serves 4

For the cured rabbit legs

4 farmed rabbit legs,150–200g each
200g sea salt
100g soft light brown sugar
2 tsp thyme leaves 
1 litre duck fat 

For the salad

1kg celeriac Juice of
1 lemon 100ml red wine
100ml red wine vinegar
100ml water
100g soft light brown sugar
200g sugar snap peas, sliced 
A bunch of spring onions, finely sliced
2 tbsp chopped chervil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

For the salad cream

2 free-range egg yolks
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
60g walnuts, finely chopped
50ml walnut oil 
​100ml sunflower oil
150ml double cream 

To finish

4 pickled walnuts, sliced
Walnut oil to drizzle

Put the rabbit legs in a plastic tub. Blitz the salt, sugar and thyme in a food processor for 1 minute then rub all over the rabbit legs. Leave to cure in the fridge for 3 hours. Wash off the cure and pat the rabbit legs dry. Preheat the oven to 130°C/Fan 115°C/ Gas 1. Heat the duck fat in a saucepan over a medium-low heat. Lay the rabbit legs in a casserole dish in which they fit snugly, but comfortably. Pour over the fat and then cover the dish with foil. Cook in the oven for 4 hours.

Meanwhile, for the salad, peel and quarter the celeriac; immerse in a bowl of water with the lemon juice added to prevent discoloration. Bring the wine, wine vinegar, water and sugar to the boil in a saucepan. Drain the celeriac and carefully slice it very finely, using a mandoline, into another bowl. Pour on the pickling liquor and cover the surface with cling film to keep the celeriac slices submerged. Leave to cool.

To make the salad cream, whisk the eggs yolks, mustard, sugar, wine vinegar and walnuts together for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the oils, then the cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

When the rabbit legs are cooked, remove from the fat and allow to cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, pick the meat off the bone and pull into shreds.

Drain the celeriac and place in a bowl with the sugar snaps, spring onions and chervil. Add 2 tbsp salad cream and carefully mix together. Spoon some salad cream onto each serving plate. Share the salad between the plates and top with the rabbit meat. Finish with pickled walnut slices and a drizzle of walnut oil. Serve warm.

Nathan Outlaw’s Home Kitchen by Nathan Outlaw (Quadrille, £20). Photography ©David Loftus

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