Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Smoked Duck Coucous Salad

This salad is adapted from a couscous salad recipe I have been using for over 10 years. It's a salad I often bring to potluck gatherings, and it is always a hit. My Chef at cooking school handed out photocopies of the original recipe that looked like it came from a cookbook to all the students in her class. We made it as a side dish, and I was astonished that such a simple recipe could have such complex flavours. It is a refreshingly delicious. I cannot name the source of my ragged photocopy, but an aunt of mine requested the recipe via email and I was able to find the exact recipe online. Ginger apricot couscous salad.

The version I present here is a main course salad for summer evenings like we have been experiencing lately. The strong orange and ginger flavours led me to choose smoked Margret de canard as the meat for this salad. I would also serve this salad happily with thinly sliced duck breast if smoked duck cannot be found. For vegetarians I suggest smoked tofu cut in long thin strips. I used roasted peeled pumpkin seeds here but toasted slivered almonds would do well as a substitute.

Smoked Duck Couscous Salad

serves 4-6

500 ml / 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
15 ml / 1 tbsp olive oil
15 ml / 1 tbsp minced ginger
5 ml / 1 tsp orange zest
250 ml / 1 cup medium couscous
1 red pepper
1 large zucchini
2 large carrots
1 medium red onion
Sufficient quantity apple cider vinegar
To taste sea salt
3 green onions, thinly sliced
100 grams / 3 oz Margret de canard (Smoked duck breast), cut into thin strips
large handful raw pumpkin seeds, toasted and cooled

In a medium sauce pan bring the orange juice, olive oil, ginger and zest to a boil. Remove immediately from heat and add the couscous. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile in a small sauce pan bring about 250 ml / 1 cup of water to boil. Add julienned red onion an cook for 15 seconds. Drain onions and add back to saucepan off of burner. Toss onions in a splash of apple cider vinegar to turn the onions pink. Set aside. Add the julienned vegetables including red onion to a large bowl. Add warm couscous to the bowl and toss. Add a splash of vinegar if more is needed and salt to taste. Add green onion and smoked duck slivers and chill or serve at room temperature. Add toasted pumpkin seeds just before serving. Garnish with basil.

I am very thankful that my lavender bloomed early this year as I am about to leave on vacation and I hate to miss it! This year I was able to harvest 8 large bouquets which are know hanging in the stairwell of my basement. Lavender needs a cool, dry & dark place to dry properly. In the fall I will hand out lavender bouquets to friends and family, with a stupid grin on my face, while I proclaim that the lavender came from my garden. Ah summer.

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