duck with quick French peas

Lindsey Bareham

Ah, the joys of frozen petits pois, here cooked French-style with buttery onion and lettuce, the perfect base for quickly cooked duck breasts. Impressive but easy.

serves 4-6, prep 20 min, cook 30 min

A bunch of spring onions
100g butter
750g frozen petits pois
3 Little Gem lettuce hearts
10g flat-leaf parsley
10 mint leaves
1 tsp white sugar
4 duck breasts with skin

Heat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Trim and finely slice the salad onions. Melt 75g butter in a wide-bottomed pan and stir in the onions. Cook for a couple of minutes, add 150ml water and the petits pois. Cook, tossing the peas constantly for a couple of minutes until defrosted and the butter solidified around the peas has melted. Add scant teaspoon salt, and generous seasoning black pepper. Quarter the lettuce hearts lengthways, rinse, shake dry then shred finely across the quarters. Stir the lettuce into the peas. Simmer uncovered for about 10 min until peas and onion are tender, the lettuce wilted.

Place the duck breasts skin-side down in an oven-proof pan over a high heat and cook for 2-3 min until the skin is crisp. Turn to seal the other side, cooking for 1-2 min. Cook in the oven for 10-15 min (for pink meat) until it feels springy when pressed. Remove the breasts to a plate. Cover with clingfilm and leave until required (at least 5 min). Chop parsley and mint leaves. Slice thickly across the duck fillets on the diagonal. Reheat the peas, stir in 25g butter and when melted adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir herbs into the peas and spoon into the middle of six warmed dinner plates. Arrange the duck over the top, adding any juices.