WHITE BEAN, PASTA AND GRILLED DUCK SALAD WITH ORANGE CUMIN VINAIGRETTE

WHITE BEAN, PASTA AND GRILLED DUCK SALAD WITH ORANGE CUMIN VINAIGRETTE (for eight)

1 pound dried white beans such as cannellini or Great Northern, picked over and soaked in enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches overnight, or 1-3/4 pounds canned white beans (about 2-1/2 cups) rinsed well and drained

1 whole, boneless duck breast with skin (about 1-2/3 pounds)

For the vinaigrette:

¾ cup fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/3 cup olive oil

dried hot red pepper flakes to taste

For the salad:

½ pound ziti, penne or other tubular pasta

1 red onion, minced, soaked in ice water for 10 minutes and well drained

2 garlic cloves, minced

1-1/4 cups finely chopped celery

1 red bell pepper, sliced thin

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander, plus coriander sprigs for garnish

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves

2 navel oranges, zest, pith and membranes cut away with a serrated knife and flesh cut into sections

1/3 cup finely chopped pitted black olives

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1. If using dried beans, in a kettle combine them with enough water to cover them by 2 inches, bring the water to a boil and cook the beans, covered, at a bare simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, or until they are just tender.  Drain the beans well.

2.  On an oiled rack set 5 or 6 inches over glowing coals or in a well seasoned ridge grill pan over moderately high heat grill the duck for 7 minutes on each side.  Transfer the duck to a roasting pan and roast it in a preheated 450* oven for 7 minutes for medium rare meat.  Transfer the duck to a cutting board and let it stand for 15 minutes.

3.  Make the vinaigrette:  In a bowl, whisk together the orange juice, vinegar and cumin, add the olive oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk the dressing until it is emulsified.  Whisk in the red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.

4.  In a kettle of boiling salted water cook the pasta until it is tender, rinse it under cold water and drain it well.  In a very large bowl, toss together the beans, pasta, onion, garlic, celery, bell peppers, chopped coriander, mint, orange sections, olives and the duck, cut into thin slices.  Add the vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste and toss the salad gently but thoroughly.  Divide the salad among 8 plates and garnish the plates with coriander sprigs.  Serve at room temperature.

from The Best of Gourmet, 1993

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