A classic duck confit doesn’t have to be a heavy old dish; teamed with a lovely pea salad, utilising the tendrils as well, it makes a very light, fresh and comforting dish that’s perfect for summer. You can confit the duck legs well in advance and keep them in the fat in the fridge, or even freeze them in the fat if you spot a bargain.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 35 minutes
For the confit
4 duck legs
250g duck fat
4 garlic cloves, left unpeeled
10 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 tsp sea salt
1 large baking potato, cut into 4 slices about 1-2cm thick
For the peas
150g shelled weight of peas
1 tsp caster sugar
grated zest and juice of 1 small orange
handful of pea tendrils (pea shoots) or small salad leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4.
2. With a heavy sharp knife, chop the knuckle off the duck legs then with the point of the knife cut around the thigh bone, ensuring you don’t go through the skin, and chop the bone just below the knuckle. Fold the thigh in and push the drumstick meat down to expose the bone so it looks like a little ham.
3. Pack the legs into a tight-fitting pan then add the duck fat and the rest of the ingredients except the potato. Season well then cover the pan with a lid and cook in the oven for an hour or until the legs are soft but not falling apart.
4. Turn the oven up to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6. Lay the potato slices in an ovenproof pan, remove the duck legs from the fat and place one leg on top of each slice of potato. Cook in the oven for about 30-35 minutes until the fat is crisp. You may want to put a little foil on the leg bones to prevent them from burning.
5. Meanwhile, cook the peas in boiling salted water with a teaspoon of sugar for 4-5 minutes until tender, then drain.
6. To make the dressing, put the orange zest and juice in a bowl and whisk in a tablespoon of the liquid duck fat.
7. To serve, remove the duck legs on their potato slices with a spatula or fish slice and transfer to serving plates. Arrange the peas and pea tendrils or salad leaves around the duck and spoon around the dressing.
8. Strain the excess duck fat and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge to use at a later date.