Michael Caines’ recipes: Salad of wild duck with celeriac chips

Salad of wild duck (c) David Griffen Photography

Salad of wild duck (c) David Griffen Photography - Credit: Archant

This salad can be served as a main or a starter. The wild duck, celeriac and game hollandaise are delicious together

I remember making this salad as a starter at Gidleigh Park in the early days, and always looked forward to dipping any leftover chips in the hollandaise at the end of service!

Serves 4


- 4 wild duck breasts, off the bone (ask your butcher for the carcasses)

- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

- 30g unsalted butter

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- 20 celeriac chips

- 12 glazed button onions

- Walnut vinaigrette

- Mixed salad leaves

For the mallard sauce

- 30ml vegetable oil

- 20g leeks, cut in small mirepoix (rough chop)

- 30g celeriac, cut in small mirepoix

- 30g onions, cut in small mirepoix

- 30g carrots, cut in small mirepoix

- 3 cloves of garlic

- Salt

- 1 bay leaf

- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme

- 10g black peppercorns

- 500g wild duck carcasses (2 whole carcasses), chopped small

- 15g butter

- 30ml port

- 150ml Madeira e.g. Blandy’s Five-Year-Old

- 350ml chicken stock

- 100ml veal glace

- 30ml double or whipping cream

For the game hollandaise

- 5 egg yolks

- 50ml water

- 200g unsalted butter

- 20ml mallard sauce

- 10ml walnut oil

- Salt and freshly ground black pepper

- ½ lemon juiced

Planning ahead

• You need to make the vinaigrette first.

• Make your duck sauce from the carcasses.

• Prepare your celeriac chips, ready for finishing.

• The hollandaise can be made, finished with the sauce and vinaigrette, and kept in a bottle in a warm place or in a bain-marie.

• The glazed button onions will need to be cooked in advance.


Mallard sauce: Cook the vegetables with a pinch of salt in a heavy-based pan in the 15ml of oil, without colouring them, for ten minutes. Add the bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns and cook for a further five minutes. Heat the remaining oil in a roasting tray on the hob and put in the wild duck carcasses, then add the butter and colour carcasses, golden brown. Add the vegetables to the carcasses, then add the port and Madeira and reduce by half.

Now add the chicken stock, veal glace, cream and a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Pass through a colander, then a fine sieve, then put back into the pan and reduce to the required consistency. Finally pass the sauce through a sieve again and season. Finish by adding some walnut vinaigrette, to taste.

Game hollandaise: Put the vinegar, peppercorns and shallots into a saucepan and simmer until reduced to nothing. Add a splash of water. Put the egg yolks and water into a round-bottomed bowl and place over a pan of simmering water, whisking continuously, making a sabayon to peak stage, but be careful not to overcook the egg yolks and to cook them evenly.

Heat the butter and whisk it into the sabayon, then add the mallard sauce and the walnut oil, season with salt, pepper and a dash of lemon juice, and place in a bottle or in a tub with clingfilm over the top.

To cook the wild duck: Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. Using a sharp knife, crisscross the skin of the wild duck breasts carefully – this will help to render the fat. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a little oil in an ovenproof frying pan, add the duck breasts, and cook gently until the fat has rendered and the skin of the duck is golden brown. Turn the breasts over, add a knob of butter, and continue to cook for two minutes. Transfer to the oven for three minutes, then remove and set aside to rest.

To finish: Pre-heat the deep fat fryer to 200°C. Re-heat the button onions in a saucepan and drop the celeriac chips into the fryer. Put the wild duck breasts back into the oven for three minutes. Then slice each one into three pieces and place them on serving plates.

Remove the celeriac chips from the fryer and season with salt, then put five chips on each plate, along with three button onions. Dress the salad leaves with the walnut vinaigrette and add some to each plate. Add a little of the game hollandaise (I like to use a squeezy bottle for this, but a spoon will do), then drizzle the mallard sauce over and around and serve.

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