Duck Salad with Oranges, Maple Walnuts, Baby Corn, Romanesco, Radicchio and Fennel

Soy Tahini Dressing

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By Peter Gordon

Published 2005

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The quickest way to make this salad is to buy a roast duck from your nearest Chinatown. Otherwise, roast a duck yourself (or roast one breast per person), which is actually just as easy as roasting a chicken.

Season the cavity of the duck and sit it on top of a few carrots and sliced onions in a roasting tray, breast down. Pour on half a cup of boiling water and season well. Roast at 180°C, gas 4, for 30 minutes, then turn over and roast, breast up, until cooked – about another 50 minutes for a 1.5kg bird. It is cooked when you insert a sharp knife into the thigh and the juices run clear. For the last 5 minutes, place it under the grill in the oven, if you can, to crisp up the skin. Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting.

In summer I serve this at room temperature, but in winter I serve the duck straight from the oven and the corn hot from the pan. Romanesco, which is a winter broccoli, can then be replaced with regular broccoli or cauliflower.


  • 2 large handfuls of walnuts
  • 2 pinches of ground cinnamon or nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 whole duck, cooked as above, or 4 duck breasts, cooked to medium-rare
  • 20 baby sweetcorn
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 large juicy oranges
  • 1 head of romanesco, separated, blanched and refreshed in iced water
  • 1 head of fennel
  • 1 medium head of radicchio
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

For the Soy Tahini Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 5 teaspoons olive oil


Preheat the oven to 170°C, gas 3½. Mix the walnuts, spice and maple syrup in a small bowl and lay on a baking tray lined with non-stick parchment. Bake in the centre of the oven until golden and baked through, around 12–18 minutes, tossing them occasionally, then remove and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, if you’re using a whole duck you’ll need to get the meat off the carcass. It’s a matter of using a small sharp knife and your fingers to pull and cut all the flesh from the bones. Take off the legs first and remove their bones by cutting lengthways down the thigh and drumstick, then pulling them out. Take the two breasts off the carcass one at a time. Cut the meat into slices or small chunks and put to one side.

Toss the sweetcorn with the oil and fry them in a hot pan to colour them slightly all over, shaking the pan to allow them to cook evenly. Remove from the pan and put in a bowl.

Segment the oranges, reserving the juice that runs off, and place the segments in a bowl with the corn and romanesco. Slice the fennel thinly on a mandolin grater (or use a sharp knife) and add this to the corn. Remove the leaves from the radicchio and add these to the salad bowl.

Make the soy tahini dressing, whisk the reserved orange juice with the soy sauce, tahini and olive oil so that the mixture emulsifies, or shake it all together in a jar, and adjust the seasoning.

To Serve

Lay the duck on top of the salad, scatter with the sesame seeds and pass the bowl around with a jug of the dressing.