Classic salad of poultry gizzards

This classic salad dish from the south of France, with hot confit duck gésiers, makes a substantial lunch or supper.

Ever since first eating confit de canard, in the Dordogne region of southern France in the late 1960s with my parents, all crisp and rich (the duck, not Ma and Pa), I have forever loved all things salted and preserved. The French confit means ‘preserved’, but it’s also the prefix of confiture (jam)—as I’m sure most of you already know. Furthermore, I also gaily went on to guzzle gizzards (gésiers), hot and salted, fatty chunks of pork belly (rillons—the big daddy of rillettes) and rich duck liver, of course.

Salad of poultry gizzards (serves 4)

75ml olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 thick slices from a large sour dough loaf, cut into 2cm cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing
1tbspn Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed with a little coarse sea salt to a paste
1tbspn red-wine vinegar
75ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 large head of frisée
8 confit duck gizzards, thinly sliced
3 hard-boiled eggs, shelled

In a small pan, warm together the olive oil and garlic for cooking the croutons. Leave for a few minutes to infuse and then sieve into a roomy frying pan. Heat until moderately hot, put in the bread and quickly toss together until very lightly coloured, then tip into a roasting tin and bake in a moderate oven for 7–10 minutes or until golden. Season lightly with salt and cayenne and scoop out onto several folds of kitchen paper. Put to one side. To make the dressing, whisk together the mustard, garlic and vinegar. Add the olive oil in a thin stream and continue whisking until amalgamated.

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To make the salad, ruthlessly remove all the very bitter outer green leaves from the outside of the frisée until only the inner pale-yellow heart remains. Wash this well, then separate it into wispy tendrils and dry them in a tea towel. Place in a roomy salad bowl and combine with the dressing and croutons. Briefly fry the gizzards (commonly found in tins or jars) in a dry frying pan for a moment or two and turn out onto the salad. Grate the eggs over the gizzards and mix well—hands are best, here. Serve forthwith.

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