Yesterday, I got drenched while visiting London's Design Museum to review 'The Way We Live Now', an appreciation of Terence Conran's life in design, and an exhibition I found rather nostalgic, not least for the inclusion of a Habitat chicken brick (I had one as a student) and various other pieces of furniture and kitchen gadgets which I own or have owned. My son was fascinated by the idea of the chicken brick (it works on the same principle as a tagine - you don't need to add additional liquid) and persuaded me to buy one - which I did.
Leaving the Design Museum and heading back along the Thames Path towards London Bridge we were subjected to the full force of a mini typhoon: the gale whipped icy, stinging rain into our faces and in a few moments, despite our sensible outdoor coats, we were soaked. We had a jolly, healthy sushi lunch at Itsu, and it was while we were eating, that I remembered the parsnips in the vegetable drawer of the fridge, left over from Christmas, and the generous slabs of Barbery duck which I bought in Lidl and froze before we left for our winter holiday in the Alps. I defrosted one duck breast (they are huge!) as soon as I'd returned home and dried out, and set about making ribbons from the parsnips using the vegetable peeler while wondering whether I should invest in a "vegetable spiralizer".
This dish was inspired by Jamie Oliver's simple yet classy Parsnip and Pancetta Tagliatelle, but the substitution of duck for pancetta and the marinade is my own invention. Cook the parsnip strips until they are soft, sweet and slightly caramelised around the edges. This is one of those wonderfully straightforward dishes that tastes upmarket. Tonight I'm doing a variation on the theme: risotto with caramelised parsnip ribbons and mushrooms.
Bear in mind that the parsnips "shrink" when cooked so don't stint on the ribbons (amusingly, my son thought the parsnip ribbons were Japanese noodles!).
1 Barbery duck breast (or two small duck breasts)
1 splash of Balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt & pepper
3 large parnsips, peeled and then ribboned (use a veg peeler)
1 fat garlic clove, peeled and finely sliced
Generous knob of butter
Generous grating of fresh parmesan cheese
Enough linguine for two (fresh or dried). Or spaghetti or tagliatelle, papardelle or bucatini
Salt & pepper
Fresh flat leaf parsley to garnish
Olive oil for frying
First prepare the duck breast/s. Slash the fat with a sharp knife and marinade the duck in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Heat some oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the duck breast/s, skin sound down, until the skin is crisp. Set aside.
About 20 mins before you want to eat, turn on the oven, and when it is really hot, cook the duck breasts.
Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and soften the garlic until it gives up its flavour. Then add the parsnip ribbons and cook until slightly caramelised. Bring a big pan of water to boil and cook the pasta. Remove the duck from the oven, let it rest, and then slice it.
Add the butter to the parsnips and a handful of Parmesan cheese. Check seasoning. Drain the pasta, toss in the parsnips, add more cheese if liked. Place a nest of pasta on each plate and lay the duck slices on top. Garnish with fresh parsley. I also drizzled a little truffle oil over the top, which added a certain je ne sais quoi....
Jamie Oliver's recipe which inspired this post here