Confit duck salad with lentils in sherry vinaigrette, mustard fruits & walnuts

The cooler months are coming and this is a terrific dish to enjoy. I love to combine the decadence of the confit duck with great salad ingredients – like a simple sherry vinaigrette, some great leaves and toasted walnuts. The addition of the lentils make this a complete main course! This dish is hard to take off our menu at Union Dining, so many of our regulars love it. It takes a little commitment to make your own confit duck, but it is well worth it. All good butchers sell duck fat and duck legs – so give it a shot. Otherwise, you can buy good pre cooked confit duck legs a good delicatessens. Have fun making this – and have it with a glass of pinot noir! Cheers!
Confit duck salad with lentils in sherry vinaigrette, mustard fruits & walnuts

Ingredients and Methods

To confit the duck legs


4 duck legs

100g Rock salt

800g duck fat

4 fresh bay leaves

4 cloves garlic, smashed with the back of a knife

5g whole black peppercorns


1. Sprinkle the duck legs with salt and rub gently then lay in a deep oven proof dish with skin side up, cover with plastic and leave overnight in the fridge.

2. Next day gently wash off the salt and pat the duck legs dry with paper towel and return to the oven proof dish skin side up with a sheet of non stick baking paper on the base of the dish.

3. Acatter the bay leaves, garlic and peppercorns over the duck legs.

4. Meanwhile bring the duck fat to the boil in a saucepan (check the temp of the fat, it should not exceed 100’C).

5. Now gently pour the duck fat into the dish of duck legs and ensure they are well covered, place another piece of non stick paper over them and wrap tightly in foil.

6. Place in oven at 170’C for approximately 2 hours, or until the legs are soft and the bones are almost about to fall out

7. Remove from oven, allow to cool in the fat for 30 minutes, then remove from the fat, place on a cake rack to drain off excess fat.

8. Strain the fat and keep for next time.

9. When the duck has cooled, gently remove the thigh bone (they should easily slip out using your fingers), then store the duck legs in a well sealed plastic container in the fridge with the garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves and coated in a little duck fat.

To make Sherry vinaigrette


50ml Spanish sherry vinegar

1 small garlic clove finely diced

200ml olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper from grinder to taste


1. Crush garlic with the salt in a mortar and pestle.

2. Add the sherry vinegar to the mortar and pestle and mix well with the garlic, then pour in the olive oil, season and set aside (this will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week).

To cook the lentils


250g du puy lentils

1 garlic clove

5 sprigs of thyme, leaves roughly picked

1 bay leaf

500ml chicken stock


1. Wash lentils under cold running water, drain well, then place in a saucepan and cover generously with cold water, bring to the boil then tip into a fine strainer and drain well again.

2. Now combine blanched lentils in saucepan with the garlic, thyme, bay leaf & stock bring to the boil

3. Reduce to a simmer and cook on a medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes until the lentils are just cooked, ensuring to skim the surface of the liquid from time to time.

4. The lentils are ready when almost all the liquid has been absorbed and they are soft to eat but not falling apart.

5. Remove from the saucepan and allow to cool.

6. Once the lentils are slightly cool, dress the lentils in half of the dressing and set aside.

To make the salad


4 confit duck legs – reheated in an oven on 180’C till the skin is just crisp, should take 10 minutes

The cooked lentils dressed in sherry vinaigrette

50g diced mustard fruits (you can buy mustard fruits in a good deli)

50g toasted and rough crushed walnuts

1 bunch of parsley – leaves picked and washed

1 head of curly endive – outer leaves discarded and inner leaves kept and washed

1 bunch of chives – cut into short batons

1 head of witlof – picked and leaves roughly torn apart

Extra dressing for finishing the salad


1. Place a generous amount of the dressed lentils across 4 plates for serving the salad on.

2. Roughly pull apart all the hot confit duck leg meat and place in a large mixing bowl, add the mustard fruits, walnuts, parsley leaves, curly endive leaves, chive batons and red witlof leaves, then dress with some more of the sherry vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper.

3. Ensure the salad is mixed well, then serve evenly across the 4 plates.

4. Delicious with a glass of pinot noir!

Chef Nicky Riemer

A degree studying chemical engineering was cut short when Nicky realised it was hospitality that held her full attention. With a hotelier as a father, being around waiters, chefs and bartenders was the norm. "I literally grew up living in hotels," says Nicky, "My Dad, as the manager, would have an apartment in them. The only thing I knew was the hospitality industry." (more)

here to view all of Chef Nicky Riemer's recipes.

Nicky Riemer

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