Recipe: Ballotine of smoked duck and liver mousse with grilled almonds and honey dressing salad

BACK to basics has been an abiding theme for Claude Paillet for a while now but he’s not about to sacrifice style for it. The French-born, Michelin-trained head chef The Bricklayers Arms at Flaunden has his own name and the reputation of the gastro-pub where he works to maintain, much to the benefit of customers whose enthusiasm has brought the place a string of awards, including the accolade as Hertfordshire’s Dining Pub of the Year 2009 from the Good Pub Guide.

Put that all together and you come up with something like Claude’s latest offering here, a ballotine that is easy to make but is big on taste thanks to the simple combination of the smoked duck with a creamy mousse set off by a tangy salad. As a comforting but intriguing dish, it’s right up there with Claude’s belief in ‘good local produce’ and food that doesn’t have to be flashy to be good.

Ballotine of smoked duck and liver mousse with grilled almonds and honey dressing salad (serves 4)

For the liver mousse:100g duck or chicken liver 120g butter1 shallot1 sprinkle of brandy1 sprinkle of portsalt, pepper and mixed herbs1 smoked duck breast60g grilled almonds

Dressing:1 tsp Dijon mustard3 tbsp vegetable oil1 tbsp red wine vinegar50g honeysalt and pepperBasket:1 square of filo pastry baked for 2 min on an empty tin

Method1 Chop and slowly cook shallot in 20g butter, add the liver and cook thoroughly, add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle the port and brandy and mixed herbs into the mix. Allow to cool and blend in an electric mixer until texture becomes very fine, then add the soft butter and mix for another 2 min.2 Arrange 6 slices of smoked duck on a piece of cling film, add one spoonful of the liver mousse, roll into a sausage shape and leave in the fridge to cool.3 For the dressing, whisk the mustard in a bowl, slowly pour in the oil then still whisking add the vinegar, then the honey.4 Arrange the duck breast and liver mousse parcels in the basket and add a mixed salad with grilled almonds and honey dressing to your taste.

BOOK A TABLE The Bricklayers ArmsFlaunden Lane, Flaunden HP3 0PH01442