Drawing by Shari Thiel, photos by Lucy Uppill, tree by Horst Birve and nature.
I have been waiting not-so-patiently for these beauties to ripen and also to get to them before the birds do. I saw a red wattle bird eyeing them today with a look that was first cousin to desire. So I picked them.
Duck breast with fig sauce and green lentils.
2 tblsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 cups/ 500ml chicken or duck stock
1 cup French Du Puy lentils or Australian grown green lentils
1 cup baby spinach
2 tblsp each of chopped parsley and coriander
1/4 of a small preserved lemon, inner removed and rind finely chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 cup soft brown sugar/ muscavado
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp baharat
4 fat ripe figs, cut in half
4 duck breasts
In a heavy based sauce pan heat the oil and fry the onion gently until soft and slightly coloured, add garlic and fry another minute, stirring. Add the sherry and once the alcohol has boiled off add the stock and lentils. Boil the lentils until tender and the liquid has been absorbed, adding water when necessary until done. Stir through spinach, herbs, preserved lemon and season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile put the sherry vinegar, sugar, cinnamon stick and spices in a pan and simmer 2 minutes. Add fig halves cut side down and simmer gently for about 2 minutes, turn and cook a further 4 minutes until jammy but still holding together. Add water if the sauce becomes too syrupy when cooking.
Score the duck breasts and cook skin side down in a fry pan to render the fat and crisp the skin, see here for rendering. After 8-10 minutes tip out the accumulated fat and turn over. Continue to cook for 5 minutes at a higher heat then take off the heat and rest another 5 minutes before slicing.
Serve the sliced duck on the lentils with the jammy figs to the side. A green salad would not be entirely inappropriate here as well.