Duck confit on a bed of lentils, spinach and spring vegetables
For the duck confit – to be done 24 hours before:
1 Blend together the rock salt, thyme and black peppercorns. Sprinkle liberally over duck legs to coat and leave covered in the fridge for 24 hours. After 24 hours, wipe off all excess salt with a clean, damp cloth.
For the dish:
2 Warm up the duck fat in a heavy-bottomed pot, and heat to about 100C/Gas Mark ¼. Carefully place the duck legs in the warm fat. Cover the surface with greaseproof paper and place a lid on the pot. Put in a warm oven and cook gently for 2-3 hours until the meat is completely tender – the fat should be gently simmering, not boiling.
3 Meanwhile, cook the lentils in the chicken stock with a bouquet garni for about 45 minutes until just tender. Leave to cool.
Blanch the diced vegetables in another pan, in salted water until just tender. Once cooked, leave to cool and set aside.
4 When you’re ready to cook, take a heavy-bottomed pan and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Fry off the bacon lardons until very crispy. Add the diced vegetables. Lightly colour in the pan with the bacon. Drain the lentils, keeping a little of the liquid back, and add the lentils. Add some of the liquid and the butter, and heat, reducing the liquid down to the right consistency. Add the spinach and wilt in the pan. Add salt, pepper and parsley to taste.
5 Spoon a layer of the lentil mix on each plate or shallow bowl. Place the duck over the top. Garnish with parsley.