Roasted Norfolk mallard, salted plums and watercress


Richard Bainbridge salts plums for two weeks, creating a sweet and sour sauce to serve alongside a peppery watercress purée and beautifully savoury roasted mallard duck. A dish that shows off the beauty of Richard's beloved Norfolk produce.

First published in 2018




Salted plums (prepare 2 weeks in advance)

Salted plum purée

Watercress purée


To serve


  • Large sterilised jar
  • Blender
  • Squeezy bottle


2 weeks before you plan to serve the dish, start making the salted plums. Place the pitted plums and sea salt into a cleaned and sterilised jar, seal the lid and turn the jar upside down to combine well. Leave in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks, turning every other day. When ready to use, remove the plums from the jar and rinse under cool running water and set aside to drain
On the day you plan to serve the dish, make the salted plum purée. Pour the beetroot juice into a pan set over a high heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat and reduce the liquid by roughly three-quarters, or until 90g remains. Set aside to cool slightly
Place 250g of the salted plums and the watercress into a blender. Blitz until fairly smooth, then add the reduced beetroot juice and blend until completely smooth. Season to taste and pass through a sieve. Reserve in a pan until needed
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
To prepare the watercress purée, place the egg yolk and vinegar in a blender and blitz until combined. Add the watercress and water and blitz until smooth. With the blender still running, gently add the rapeseed oil in a thin, steady stream. Season to taste and reserve in the fridge until ready to serve
Season the inside of the mallards liberally with salt and pepper and season the outsides with salt only. Place the thyme and garlic into the cavity of the birds
Preheat a large frying pan over a medium heat and place the mallards in the pan – don't add any fat at this stage as you want the fat to render from the ducks. Sear on all sides until golden brown, then add the butter so it melts and foams. Spoon the foaming butter over the ducks, then place the pan in the oven for 6–8 minutes, basting halfway through cooking
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Finish with a twist of white pepper
To serve, carve the duck, keeping the breasts and legs whole. Use a squeezy bottle to squeeze a line of the plum purée around the outside of the plate, and use a spoon to spread it out. Layer a few slices of raw button mushroom on top of each other on one side of the plate and place the duck breast on top of them. Place the leg of the duck on top, so the bone lies on top of the breast. Place a few slices of plum next to the leg and a spoonful of the watercress purée alongside. Dress the plate with a few sprigs of watercress

With a background in classical cooking in Michelin-starred kitchens, Richard Bainbridge returned to his home city of Norwich to open Benedicts, a renowned restaurant which serves Norfolk produce cooked with passion, playfulness and creativity.

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