Pre-heat the oven to 200 deg Celsius (400 F).
Start by roasting the beetroots. Clean the beets of all mud and trim the stems. Wrap each beet tightly in aluminum foil. Place the wrapped beets on a pan and in a 200 deg Celsius oven for 30 to 40mins. They are done when they are very tender.
While the beets are cooking, use a peeler and peel an orange, taking note to get as much of zest and as little of pith (the white parts) as possible. Stack the strips of orange zest and cut into fine strips with a sharp knife. Set aside.
Clean and dry the duck breasts. Score the skin of the duck. Make cuts into the fat layer and take care not to cut into the meat layer. Rub some salt into the skin side only of the duck. Add the duck breasts to a clean and COLD pan. Do not add any oil. Place the pan on the stove and turn the heat to medium.
As the pan heats up, the fat from the duck will render off and the skin will brown beautifully. Always keep the heat to between medium to medium-high. Never use high heat as the skin will burn before the duck is cooked through. Once the skin is a gorgeous dark golden brown, flip the duck breasts to the other side and cook for a few more minutes till the other sides are also golden brown. Be careful not to overcook the duck. Set the cooked duck aside and leave to rest covered with foil. Duck, like beef must be rested. The resting time is half that of cooking time. If the duck was cooked for 6 mins, then it should be rested for at least 3 minutes.
While the duck is resting, make the vinaigrette. Squeeze the juice of the zested orange into a bowl. About 5 to 6 tablespoons of juice. Add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Use the best quality one you have. Add 4 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk the mixture well. Set aside.
When the beets are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes so that they are easier to hold. Put on some disposable gloves (else get blood red stained fingers later). Open the foil-wrapped beets. Using the rough surface of each piece of foil, rub the beets with the foil to remove the skin. Cut the cooked beets into small pieces. Set aside in a bowl.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette into the beets. Add 2 teaspoons of honey. Toss well to coat the beets with the dressing.
Slice the rested duck into thin slices. The meat should be a beautiful pink.
Serve by layering the salad with greens, nuts and cheese of your choice, and the duck and beets.
I like rocket greens with fresh basil or mint, mandarin orange segments, toasted almond flakes or pine nuts and some shaved parmesan cheese or some crumbed feta or goat’s cheese.
Garnish with the orange zest.
Trickle the vinaigrette over the salad.
Best served immediately.