Duck loves a sweet companion and it’s going to tingle your tastebuds as you bite into its crispy skin with a smooth pumpkin puree. The light, classic combination of bitter rocket, mellow pear and Parmesan cuts through the richness as well, giving you a dinner that’s sure to leave you feeling fancy.
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Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. To prepare the ingredients, chop the pumpkin into 2 cm chunks. Wash the rocket leaves. Core and slice the pear, and flake the Parmesan cheese.
Toss the pumpkin in half of the olive oil with salt and pepper. Place in a single layer on a lined oven tray. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a bowl and mash well with a potato masher or fork. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat an ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat. Pat the duck breast dry with paper towel, lightly score the skin in a crisscross pattern and season the skin with salt. Place the duck in the heated frying pan skin side down for 3-4 minutes or until the skin is golden (you don’t need to add any oil). Turn and cook for a further 1 minute. Transfer the frying pan to the oven for a further 8-10 minutes or until cooked to your liking (duck breast can be served pink). Transfer the duck to a plate and cover with foil to rest for 5 minutes. Slice on an angle. Tip: If you don’t have an ovenproof frying pan, transfer the duck to a baking dish or oven tray.
Meanwhile, combine the rocket leaves, pear and Parmesan cheese in a medium bowl. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.
To serve, divide the pumpkin puree between plates. Top with the sliced duck breast and the rocket and pear salad.