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Method

  1. Firstly, remove the duck breasts from the packaging and score the skin without going into the flesh. (A sharp knife or a clean Stanley blade purely used for scoring meat is a great chef tool). Pat dry and leave to air dry for 30 minutes or so.
  2. Next, pre heat the oven to 180°C. Taking a heavy bottomed frying pan, sprinkle the base with a little salt and lay the breasts skin side down on a cool to medium pan.
  3. Gently render the fat from under the skin creating a golden crisp skin. This takes about 5 minutes, and must not be rushed otherwise you will end up with a soggy end result.
  4. Next fry the flesh side of the duck for no more than 30 seconds to seal in the juices. Drain the excess fat away carefully and reserve for later use.
  5. Turn the breasts back onto their skin and transfer to a hot oven for 8 to 10 minutes depending on how pink you like them done.
  6. Once cooked rest skin side up on a wire rack in a warm place for 5 minutes or so.
  7. For the garnish take 6 button onions per person, and lay in a wide based pan so they're flat. Cover with chicken stock, a few sprigs of marjoram or thyme and a nob of butter and simmer until tender with a tight fitting lid on the pan. Try not to boil otherwise the onions may fall to bits.
  8. Once tender add a 100 g of fresh podded peas per person or a mix of peas and broad beans. Simmer in broth for 3 to 4 minutes and thicken with a little corn flour mixed with some cold water to form a paste. Next, mix into hot broth; 1 tablespoon will do for 4 servings.
  9. Finally take a clean round lettuce and shred roughly before adding to the broth, simmer again for a couple of minutes, before checking the seasoning and serving straight away.
  10. Divide the garnish into deep bowls, including the cooking broth.
  11. Carve the duck into thick slices, cutting through the breast crossways. Place on top of the peas and enjoy.
  12. A nice addition is to finely slice some smoked duck breast and add this to the garnish just before serving, alongside some steamed seasonal new or mids potatoes.