Spring is a wonderful time of year with the first of the new shoots of wild garlic peeping through and swathes of primroses adorning the hedgerows. A promise of warmer weather ahead is only enhanced by the thought of salads with freshly picked foraged ingredients and of course...eggs!
Lightly salt the duck breasts, flesh side only and drizzle with a little honey or maple syrup.
Place flesh side down into a plastic tub and leave to cure for 30 minutes.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the eggs. Simmer for 6 minutes, then remove from the heat. Lightly crack the shells with a spoon and run the eggs under cold water until cool. Peel the eggs and set aside.
Rinse the duck breasts and pat dry with paper towels.
Place a non stick pan on the stove at medium heat and add the duck breasts skin side down. Cook until the skin is well rendered, golden and crisping. Turn over and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.
Prepare the smoking tray by lining with foil and adding a good handful of hay. Place a rack over the top.
Make a little foil dish to hold the eggs and place on the rack. Add the eggs to the foil dish and place the duck, skin side up directly on the rack.
Cover the top of the tray with foil and place on top of the stove. If you are feeling brave you can set the hay alight with a blow torch (make sure you have the extractor fan on). You will need to have the foil covering in situ to do this then carefully fan the flames to smouldering and seal the foil closed.
Place over medium heat to keep hot smoking. If a lot of smoke is being produced, turn the heat down to low. Smoked for 5 minutes and then remove from the heat. Set aside to cool and rest for a few minutes.
Prepare the plates for the salads. Carve the duck and halve the eggs. Place on the plates as desired with foraged items of choice. Drizzle with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.