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Recently I had a great dinner at Red Lantern on Crown Street, Surry Hills. I had been wanting to try one of Luke Nguyen’s restaurants as I think he’s a great chef and am a big fan of asian cuisines in general. This night out didn’t disappoint as it was a great meal with lovely company too. We ordered the Hanoi Hunger tasting menu, which was really the perfect amount of food and none of us left feeling still hungry or too full. Two standout dishes for me were the green tea smoked duck breast salad and the crisp skinned spatchcock with shallot, ginger and oyster sauce. The service was also great – attentive and unpretentious, and the wait staff seemed genuinely interested in the food and our experience. The kitchen was also accommodating to the fact that one of our number was a non-pork eater and more than willing to substitute or amend the pork dishes to suit the table. All in all it was a great night and I’d definitely recommend Red Lantern for a special occasion or a relaxing night out. Unfortunately I forgot to take some pics which is a shame because it’s a really pretty restaurant with a laid back and cosy atmosphere..next time I promise to remember (I must have been hungry)! Anyway, the duck salad got me thinking that I’d like to try making one of my own, so here’s my version which is much simpler and easy enough for a weeknight meal at home. I can’t pretend I’m anywhere near the level of Red Lantern’s standard of cooking, but this salad turned out pretty well! Fresh, healthy and delicious. I got a few tips from my local butcher, TJ’s Quality Meats on Darling, and decided to go for it. I ate this with some sourdough bread which soaked up the dressing really well and made for a more substantial meal. See below for the recipe.

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Citrus Duck Salad

2 duck breasts

1 tbsp sunflower oil

3 tsp chinese five spice powder

Rind of 1/2 lemon

Salt + pepper

180g mixed salad leaves

1 orange, segmented

3 spring onions, finely sliced lengthways

For the dressing:

1 tbsp orange juice

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Marinate the duck breasts in the sunflower oil, five spice and lemon rind for about 30 mins or longer, if you have time. To prepare the salad, simply combine the salad leaves, orange segments and spring onions in a bowl. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine before dressing your salad.

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper and sear in a hot pan for about 4 mins on both sides, then cook in the oven for 10 mins at 220°C, followed by 10 mins at 180°C. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for about 5 mins. Slice the duck into 1/2 cm slices, and add to your salad! Bon appétit!!

Serves 2.

Red Lantern on Crown is at 545 Crown Street, Surry Hills. Reservations are highly recommended as they are very popular!

Trini xo

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