Novice sticky duck breast salad

This is the first ever dish I have ‘invented’ myself.

OK, so I’m quite aware this will have been made before, and is far from pushing the boundaries. However, in the sense that I bought the duck, decided the marinade and spice rub, cooked it to my taste and decided the salad ingredients, I’m claiming this as a Masterchef style invention test!

The duck was delicious, with crispy skin and a rich and gamey flavour, and the salad kept the vital signs in check a bit as there was no added dressings or salt.

Next time, i’ll try to keep the duck pinker and i’ll try to get some more Asian flavours in the salad, perhaps some crispy noodles, pickled radishes and chilli.

The below recipe is for two people.


  • Two duck breasts (skin very much left on)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • One tablespoon of soy sauce
  • One tablespoon of mirin
  • One tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • One teaspoon Chinese five spice or all spice
  • Spinach leaves around 100g
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • Couple of spring onions cut at an angle
  • Salt and pepper


You can pick up duck breasts (good sized ones) for around £6. OK, not the cheapest meat cuts, but the rest of this recipe is fairly cheap (assuming you have a few salad bits and a spice wrack knocking about. I think it’s reasonable to think you can do this for a fiver a head.

Novice sticky duck salad cooking process


  • Heat oven to 180C fan
  • Mix the honey, soy, mirin and vinegar in a bowl, and season with just the smallest sprinkle of salt
  • Slash the skin of the duck breasts and season with salt, pepper and the five-spice powder. I like to do this on a grease proof paper and season from a height. Lots will go on the paper, but that’s fine, because you can use the sides of the meat facing down to dab it all up.
  • Whack an ovenproof frying pan and cook the duck, skin-side down, for five minutes until golden. Do not put oil in the pan. The duck is an oily, fatty bird and it will release all of it’s own juices to cook in.
  • After the five minutes or so, flip the breasts over, baste with the honey and soy mix, then put the pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • While your duck is cooking, prepare the world’s simplest salad
  • Pop half the spinach on each plate, sprinkle the spring onion over and arrange the tomatoes prettily.
  • You may want to take the pan out to re-baste the meat once you’ve made your salad.However if you do this, remember when you put it back to use oven gloves as the pan will be screaming hot!
  • Leave the duck in the pan to rest.
  • Carve and serve neatly on the salad plates.

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