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Salad of smoked duck with farro, red chicory and pomegranates

Serves 4smoked duck pomegranates faro and chicory on an old fashioned flower plate

The flavours of north-east Italy are very distinctive. They love smoky tastes, sturdy ingredients such as polenta and the barley-like grain farro, and eastern exotica such as spices and pomegranates. I had this dish as soon as I arrived in the little Friulian village of Sauris after a terrible drive in thick snow, including an altercation with a snow plough. Elena, the chef-owner of the inn where I was staying, makes this with her own smoked goose, but I’ve substituted duck as it is easier to buy. This salad was followed by a goulash of beef cheeks, apple strudel and homemade blackberry grappa – not what you expect in Italy, and more than enough to make me forget about the journey.


for the duck

  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • ½ stick celery, finely chopped
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 15g (½oz) butter
  • 45g (1 ½oz) farro
  • 100g (3 ½oz) watercress
  • 1 head red chicory, leaves separated and core discarded
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate
  • 150g (5 ½oz) smoked duck breast, cut into neat slices

For the dressing

  • smidgen Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp cassis
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp hazelnut oil


  1. Sauté the onion and celery in the olive oil and butter until soft but not coloured. Add the farro, stir around in the buttery juices and just cover with water. Cook until the farro is tender and the liquid has been absorbed (25-35 minutes).
  2. To make the dressing put the mustard, salt, pepper and vinegar in a jug and whisk in all the other ingredients with a fork. Mix a third of it with the warm farro.
  3. In a bowl, combine the watercress, chicory and pomegranate seeds and add the rest of the dressing. Divide the salad between 4 plates, top with the smoked duck, and put a large spoonful of the dressed farro alongside.

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