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Help with menu planning around Vietnamese Duck braised in Orange Juice (Rick Stein)?

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I am planning to cook this on Sat night. Only 4 of us and I've never done the duck before but can easily imagine how it might taste and am assuming it will be quite rich.

Not sure how to start the meal?? I would love to do vietnamese spring rolls but I really hate deep frying and also don't think I'll have time to get them done. Could also do summer rolls but I have done them so often and they aren't that exciting, tho always tasty I admit.

Needs to be fresh and crunchy and tasty. My husband does a nice squid salad but I feel like we make that all the time for parties!

Don't want the starter to be too meaty and it's warm here so it shd be a salad or involve lots of nice fresh herbs. I love the thai?? chicken salad with mint and the vinegar/sweet dressing but not sure about serving chicken before the duck.

Am also unsure about dessert. I am pregnant and craving chocolate cake so can't really think of anything else right now. Smitten Kitchen posted a delicious looking strawberry cake that might work with creme fraiche. Or a raspberry buttermilk cake, in the same vein...

Or something simple, light and fruity, like almond macaroons with mascarpone and fresh strawberries.

Ill be serving the duck with steamed rice and a mix of bitter greens and cabbage.

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  1. How about a green papaya salad with grilled prawns as a starter? If you can't get green papaya where you are, you can sub with shredded green mango or you can make a shredded, carrot, green apple and cabbage salad.

    Or you can do the fresh summer rolls with a new twist like grilled tofu or seared ahi tuna w/avocado, etc.

    3 Replies
    1. re: annabananaoc

      mm I like the idea of the salad with prawns. will look at recipes for the salad. Think I can get the papaya at our oriental shop.

      1. re: annabananaoc

        Thanks so much for the suggestion. I did the papaya salad and everyone loved it. I would have liked the salad perhaps a little sweeter but it was a great refreshing contrast to the main course.

        I did a Sauternes and Olive Oil Cake for dessert with fresh nectarines. Very tasty tho the recipe should say a 9inch tin rather than 8. A very successful dinner all round so thanks for your input!

        1. re: kookiegoddess

          Hi - glad your dinner went well. I always love to start a Asian-themed dinner party with a VNese or Thai salad. They're on the lighter and refreshing side but can add a lot of flavor. Your cake sounds awesome!