Recipe: Duck, Blood Orange & Fennel Salad

I designed this dish for our recent (and first ever) ‘Introduction to Homebrewing’ course. In an effort to keep everyone fed and watered we prepared various dishes to go with the different beers we served throughout the afternoon.

We matched this salad with our 1928 Webster Sour Wheat Beer. Jo brewed this after we came back from our trip to California in October, where sour beers were definitely the most exciting thing happening in the craft beer industry. I had a delicious Blood Orange Gose by the Anderson Valley Brewing Company in the City of Orange in Orange County (ha ha!), which was also a soured wheat beer. It gave me the inspiration for matching blood oranges with our sour wheat, the mellow sourness of the beer complements the blood orange and also cuts through the rich fattiness of the duck.

Blood oranges have a super short season so it is lovely to use them in January and February, but if you can’t get your hands on them then this salad would be great with regular oranges too.

Serves 4 as a starter or on a sharing platter with a few other dishes as part of a main meal


2 duck breasts

3 blood oranges (segmented)

2 fennel bulbs

50g pistachios

A handful of mint leaves

salt & pepper

For the dressing:

2 tbsp blood orange juice (saved from the segmenting)

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp white wine vinegar

juice of 1/2 lime

salt & pepper

Season the duck breasts well with salt and pepper. Place the duck breasts skin side down in a cold heavy-bottomed frying pan or a griddle pan. Cooking duck breasts in a cold pan, rather than pre-heating the pan, ensures that you render our some of the fat and results in a nice crispy finish on the skin. Cook over a medium heat for 15 – 20 minutes until the skin is crisp. Turn the duck breasts over and cook to your liking, probably another 5-7 minutes to cook to medium.

While the duck breasts are cooking make the dressing. Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar and shake well until combined.  Taste to check the seasoning – it should be quite sharp.

Slice the fennel bulbs very thinly, I like to use a mandolin for this but a sharp knife will do fine.

Roast the pistachio nuts, either in a dry pan for a couple of minutes or in a moderate oven (180 degrees celsius) for 5 – 10 minutes.  Roughly chop the nuts.

Once the duck breasts are cooked leave to rest and once cool slice thinly.

Now assemble the salad.  Dress the sliced fennel with about one tablespoon of the dressing and perhaps an extra pinch of sea salt. Arrange the fennel on four individual plates or one large sharing platter. Scatter the sliced duck and segmented orange over the fennel and then drizzle over the dressing. Finish by scattering over the chopped pistachios and mint leaves.