This is yet another recipe from the book Rick Stein’s Secret France, that I discovered watching Chef Stein’s show called Rick Stein’s Secret France. I’ve already posted on one recipe from the book – tarte flambée.
In introducing the warm lentil salad in the cookbook, he writes: “While watching Céline Josmeyer make this confit duck and lentil salad, I was thinking how complete the relationship between wine and food in France. This dish, so spare in its ingredients and speedy in its production, is designed to go with the Josmeyers Pinot Gris 1854 from the famous Alsace vignerons. I tried both at the same time and can confirm that the match is perfect.”
The recipe is in episode 2 of Season 1 of the show, when Chef Stein is near Colmar, in beautiful Alsace. And if you’ve never been to the old part of Colmar, add it to your list. Actually, make sure to add Alsace to your list!
Chef Stein visited the winery Vins Fins d’Alsace Jos. Meyer et fils, where the biodynamic wine-making schedule is heavily influenced by lunar rhythms. In a quote from Céline Josmeyer on the vineyard’s website: “The rustle of the earth, the color of time, the radiance of grapes, the energy of life. This part of the unknown, the precision and the momentum. The emotion of wine, like a poem in the wind.” I think she might actually be from California.
Here is a photo from the website of their vineyard.
One unique product is used in this salad – French Melfor vinegar which, according to google, is “an every day essential to cooks in Alsace – a unique blend of spirit vinegar, honey and an infusion of plants which is used like vinegar in your salads and most subtle dishes.” I’d never heard of it, but it’s really good. It’s strong, but has beautiful floral notes. Amazon.com!
Confit duck legs are a significant part of this recipe. In the “old” days, I made them myself. It’s easy, just a bit time-consuming. Nowadays, these can be purchased; I got mine from D’Artagnan, and I’m glad I ordered 3 instead of 4. I like the ratio of duck to lentils better my way.
Warm Salad of Lentils and Duck Confit
Salade Tiède de Lentilles et Confit de Canard
2 confit duck legs (purchased is fine)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, finely diced
4 celery sticks, trimmed and finely diced
240g, or 8 1/2 ounces Puy lentils, rinsed, drained
1 medium onion, peeled, studded with 6 cloves
2 bay leaves
Salt and black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Melfor vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon runny honey
1 small shallot, very finely chopped
Handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Put the confit legs in a pan, cover and heat gently to melt the fat and warm the meat through. Pour off the fat and keep it for roast potatoes. Transfer the duck to a board and pull the meat apart with your fingers (after removing the fat and skin). Discard the bones.
Heat the oil in a pan and sweat the carrots and celery over a medium heat until softened. Add the lentils, 500ml, or 17 ounces, of water, (I used chicken broth), the clove-studded onion and bay leaves. Season with a teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper.
Simmer for 25 minutes. You may need to add a little more water, but the object is for it all to become absorbed. Discard the onion and bay leaves.
Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and season with salt and plenty of black pepper. Mix the lentils and shredded duck meat in a large bowl and dress with the vinaigrette.
This salad is delicious. I added more vinegar and salt, but otherwise it was magnifique!