Top seed for a salad

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 January, 2002, 12:00am

Pomegranates are difficult to eat but are worth making the effort. Once you cut through the leathery skin you have to pry the tiny fruit from the membrane. The fruit is beautiful: crisp, ruby-coloured flesh covering a small edible seed, which you can either spit out or swallow. Take care when eating pomegranates because the fruit stains; the juice was once used as a dye.

I like to add pomegranate seeds to a main-course salad of seared duck breast, orange segments, toasted pine nuts and vinaigrette. Score the skin of the duck breast and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a little oil in a pan and when hot, sear the duck breast skin-side up. Turn and sear the skin, lower the heat, cover with a lid and cook until medium rare. Remove from the pan and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

Toast pine nuts in the oven and set aside to cool. Wash the mixed greens and dry thoroughly in a salad spinner. Divide between two plates. Make a vinaigrette with Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and sherry or balsamic vinegar.

With a sharp knife, remove the peel from an orange and cut out the segments so there's no pith or membrane - do this over a bowl to catch the juice, which you then add to the vinaigrette. Slice the duck breast on the diagonal, arrange on top of the greens, add the orange segments, drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with pine nuts and pomegranate seeds.