Crispy Duck Salad with Plum Dressing

Serves 4

  • 4 duck breasts
  • 10ml 5-spice mixture
  • 200g mange tout, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 1 thumb ginger, very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Thai basil leaves
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 5 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 medium hot red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 180g pea shoots
  • 20g chives, chopped

Plum Dressing

  • 8 plums, stones removed and fruit quartered
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar

For the dressing: Place the plums, white wine vinegar, lime juice and sugar in a saucepan, cook until the fruit softens and the sugar dissolves.

Score the skin of the duck breasts with a sharp knife. Rub them with the 5–spice mixture.

In a shallow non-stick pan, over a medium heat, place the duck breasts skin side down, allow to cook for 7-10 min until a lot of the fat has rendered and the skin becomes crisp and golden. Turn and cook for another 5 min. The duck breast must still be slightly pink in the centre. Cover the duck breasts with foil and leave to rest until cooled. Thinly slice the duck breast.

Blanch the mange tout in salted boiling water for a few seconds, until they become a brighter green. Refresh in iced water.

In a small saucepan, bring the cup of oil to a high heat. Gently fry the ginger until crisp and golden and drain on paper towel. 

Place the duck, basil leaves, spring onions, chillies, pea shoots, mange tout and chives in a bowl and toss gently to combine. 

Arrange the duck salad on plates and spoon over the plum dressing.

Chardonnay complements this dish.

To shop from a selection of South Africa’s best wines, go to

Recipe Diane Heierli • Photography C&D Heierli