The contrast of sweet citrus, spicy chilli, earthy grains, tangy basil and tender duck is marvellous. This may seem like an ambitious, unusual dish but, if you buy the ingredients in advance, it comes together quickly. It's worth the effort!
1 cup (180g) burghul
4 small boneless duck breasts (about 500g in total)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1½ tbsp mild chilli powder
1½ tsp ground cumin
½ cup (10g) fresh basil, finely shredded
grated zest of 1 orange
juice of 3 oranges
juice of 1½ lemons
2 tbsp olive oil
1½ tbsp sugar
⅔ cup (170ml) water
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup (15g) chopped fresh coriander leaves
pepper to taste
250g mixed salad leaves
2 tsp balsamic vinegar, or to taste
¼ telegraph cucumber, finely diced
½ large tomato, finely diced
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Put the burghul in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for 15–25 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the skin and fat from the duck breasts. Put the breasts in a dish and add half of the garlic, chilli powder, cumin and basil, the orange zest, juice of 1 orange, juice of half a lemon and 2 tsp of olive oil. Mix well and turn the breasts to coat, then set aside to marinate.
To prepare the cumquats, cut a small slit in each one (do not cut all the way through). Place the cumquats in a saucepan with the juice of 1 orange, the sugar and water. Bring to the boil and simmer over a medium heat, turning the cumquats so that they cook evenly, for 15–20 minutes or until they are just tender and the liquid has reduced by about half. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool in the liquid.
Drain the soaked burghul and return it to the bowl. Add the spring onions, the remaining garlic, chilli powder, cumin, lemon juice and orange juice, 1 tbsp of the remaining olive oil and the coriander. Season to taste.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan. Remove the duck from its marinade and brown on both sides over a high heat. Cook for a further 4–5 minutes, turning the breasts frequently so that they don't stick. The meat will be rosy in colour in the centre (cook a little longer if you prefer it well done). Remove the breasts to a carving board and slice very thinly against the grain.
Arrange the salad leaves and remaining basil on four plates and add 4 cumquats to each. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil, the balsamic vinegar and a little of the cumquat cooking liquid. Place the burghul salad in the centre and arrange the duck slices around it. Scatter over the cucumber and tomato, then serve.
Some more ideas…
Instead of burghul, use quinoa, a nutty little grain that comes from Peru. Rinse⅓ cup (65g) quinoa well (it is coated with a sticky substance), then place in a saucepan and add½ cup (125ml) boiling water. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the grains are just tender and have absorbed the liquid. Fluff up with a fork, then dress as for the burghul. * If you can't find cumquats, omit them – the salad will still be delicious.
Oranges and cumquats are both excellent sources of vitamin C. They also contain compounds called coumarins, which are believed to help thin the blood, thus helping to prevent stroke and heart attacks.