Duck, especially wild duck or mallard, can hold its own against both savoury and sweet flavours, especially that of the wild elderberry. I can’t resist picking elderberries, and always keep some frozen. Ceps should start appearing at any moment now — they’re a great meaty mushroom that you can simply sauté and toss into a salad.
Wild Duck, Elderberry and Cep Salad (serves 4)
2 oven-ready wild ducks
A couple of good knobs of butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
120–150g ceps, or other wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
100–150g small salad leaves and herbs, washed and dried
1 tbsp good-quality red wine vinegar, such as cabernet sauvignon
4 tbsps extra-virgin olive or rapeseed oil
40–60g elderberries picked off the branch
1 | Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6. Rub the ducks with a little of the butter and season. Roast for 30 minutes, keeping them pink. Leave to rest. Melt remaining butter in a frying pan and fry the ceps for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Season, cook for another minute, then transfer to a plate.
2 | Remove the breasts and the legs from the ducks. Cut away the meat from the legs and shred into pieces. Mix together the vinegar, oil and elderberries. Season.
3 | To serve, toss the leaves with the dressing, ceps and shredded leg meat. Season. Thinly slice the duck breasts and arrange over the top.