October 19th, 2010

Pan-Roasted Teal and Pearl Barley Salad; Damson Vinaigrette

Our Suffolk life so far….

Moving to Suffolk was not a difficult decision at all. Ross and I knew that this was the county for us; a bit of the unknown but simultaneously it’s an exciting experience, and we know that there is plenty of good food and an abundance of producers around to make the British Larder Suffolk venture a success. The building and business has been challenging to say the least, and we didn’t know exactly how the local residents and local businesses would accept us into their community. Well the answer is demonstrable by the picture below! This wonderful gift of five plump teals, damsons and woodland mushrooms where brought to us by David Grimwood.

David is the owner of the The Froize Inn, Chillesford, about 6 miles from us. David is a regular visitor and became a good friend who refers to us as his ‘local staff canteen”: that in my books is an accolade and title to be proud of. This basket of teal was truly inspirational, David shot and prepared the birds himself. David is an outstanding chef with a great knowledge of game cooking and when a wonderful gift like this lands in your hands you definitely do not think twice but to cook something wonderful with it.

We are fortunate enough to have a functional and fairly pretty building situated in the most beautiful surroundings, but this building is one with plenty of problems. The kitchen to start with was a bit on the small side for what we wanted to do so we had to expand. The barn outside had to get a new roof, and was plastered inside and turned into a preparation kitchen as we simply had not enough space inside the main kitchen to cook, bake and have lots of fun. It’s a slow process but as the days go by and we continue to work hard at it we can see the improvements, and are living physically through the reasons why we moved to Suffolk in the first place.

The rewards for our hard graft are in small things such as the privilege to have your own apple, damson and pear trees. We have harvested as many of the fruits as we could, and have happily explored all the avenues of using damsons and apples on our menus throughout the Autumn months. The damson vinaigrette is one that works incredibly well with this delicious wild duck.


  • 4 whole teals
  • 1tbs unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 banana shallots, finely diced
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 1tsp coriander seeds
  • 5 black pepper corns
  • 1 sprig of thyme

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Prepare a saucepan filled with water, one sprig of thyme, coriander seeds and peppercorns, bring it to the boil.

Remove the legs from the teals; roast them in the preheated oven with olive oil and seasoning for 25 minutes. Flake the meat whilst hot. Heat the olive oil with the shallots and seasoning, cook until transparent and add the cooked flaked leg meat, cook until the shallots are tender, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Poach the teal crowns in the boiling water for 2 minutes, leave to rest for 5 minutes and remove the breast from the bone. When ready to serve heat a frying pan with butter and caramelise the teal breast in the foaming butter skin side down for about 2 minutes, cut the teal breast on an angle and serve immediately.

Pearl Barley Salad

  • 200g pearl barley
  • Cooked leg meat from the teals
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2tbs golden linseed
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbs rapeseed oil

Cook the pearl barley in plenty of water until tender.

Once cooked drain and add the rest of the ingredients, season to taste.

Damson Vinaigrette

  • 200g damsons, stones removed
  • 100ml water
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 20ml sherry vinegar
  • 100ml rapeseed oil
  • 1tsp crushed coriander seeds
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

In a small saucepan bring the damsons, sugar and water to the boil and cook until the damsons are soft.

Blend the damsons until smooth and add the rest of the ingredients, blend until emulsified, season to taste and set aside until needed.

To Serve

Spoon the warm pearl barley salad onto a warm plate, arrange the teal breast top. Serve the teal with a few sauteed girolle mushrooms, pea shoots and drizzle the damson vinaigrette round the plate. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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5 Comments to “Pan-Roasted Teal and Pearl Barley Salad; Damson Vinaigrette”

  1. Pat says:

    I’m reading this from Australia and thinking… What the heck is teal?! Damsons??

    Love your posts!

  2. Madalene says:

    Hi Pat,

    Wow, these items are our Wild foods in the UK. Teal is a wild duck and damsons is a stone fruit like a plum growing wild in our hedgerows.

    You must visit, these items are avaialbe in our Autumn.

    Happy Cooking

  3. Those look perfect, even in the basket. To feel welcomed in a new place is so gratifying. I can’t think of a better flavor with a wild teal than the damson. I look forward to trying it on a duck!

  4. amrit row says:

    sadly I’m vegetarian but when I see recipes like this, I begin to waver! I’m mushrooming a lot at the moment and have been rewarded by a lot of Boletes and Trooping funnel Caps, Parasols and even the elusive Pied de Mouton, our hedgehog fungus. I’m having to dry a lot of them as having mushrooms every day is proving a bit much! I’m going to try pickling some as one of our local chefs recommended it.
    Thanks for the recipe, I’ll pass it on to my hunter gatherer son…..

  5. Sarah Moore says:

    Really stunning.

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