Duck, Olive and Garlic Salad

Poached duck breasts make an easy main course, hot or cold. New potatoes and fresh garden peas are classic accompaniments to a hot duck dish. Here I serve the meat in a salad with whole garlic cloves and an olive dressing for plenty of flavour.


  • 4 duck breasts
  • ½ pt / 280 ml good dry white wine
  • 2–3 cloves
  • black peppercorns
  • 2–3 allspice berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 celery top
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 24 black olives
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • ¼ pt / 140 ml homemade seasoned mayonnaise
  • salad leaves, to serve


Skin the duck breasts and put them in a deep frying pan with the wine, enough water to cover and the spices, bay leaf, and celery top. Simmer very gently until the duck is just done, preferably still slightly pink. Remove from the pan. While the duck is cooking, ladle a little of the cooking broth into a saucepan, add the garlic cloves and simmer until tender. Stone and pound half the olives with half the capers. Mix into the mayonnaise, together with the garlic cloves.

Slice the duck breasts, and serve on salad leaves with the mayonnaise and the rest of the olives and capers. This is excellent with a rice, pasta or new potato salad, just dressed with olive oil and herbs and a splash of sherry vinegar or lemon juice.