Preheat the oven to 180'C.
Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks. Place in a pan of salted cold water and bring to the boil. When the water comes to the boil, reduce the heat and cook the potatoes gently until they are tender.
Whilst the potatoes are cooking, infuse the milk and double cream with the thyme and rosemary. Place the milk, double cream, herbs and butter into a sauce pan and warm gently until the butter is completely melted.
When the potatoes are cooked, strain, allow the steam to evaporate and then pass the potatoes through a fine puree mill. Pass the cream and milk through a sieve to remove the herbs and add this to the potatoes, continually stirring until you have a smooth and glossy puree. You may not need to use all of the cream and milk. Reheat before serving and add the chopped parsley at the last minute.
Peel and finely dice the garlic and shallot. Chop the mint. Cut the baby gem in half lengthways. Dice the butter and keep cold.
Heat a frying pan until hot and colour the baby gem on the cut side. Once coloured, turn over and add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to braise the lettuce for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes remove the gem from the stock and keep warm in a tray covered with foil. Reserve the stock for the sauce.
For the sauce:
Heat a saucepan until hot and add a knob of butter. Sweat the shallots and bacon until the shallots are soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute before deglazing the pan with the white wine. Reduce the wine by half and then add the braising stock to the pan. Reduce this by half, lower the heat and then gradually whisk in the remaining butter until you have a glossy sauce. Finish the sauce by adding the peas, chopped mint and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Prepare the duck breasts by removing the sinew and trimming away any excess fat. Score the skin in a diagonal pattern.
Heat a frying pan until hot. Season the duck breasts with salt and place in the pan skin side down. As the fat melts, drain from the pan. Continue until the skin is golden brown and crispy. Turn the duck breast over and seal all of the raw meat. Cook on the flesh side for a further 3-6 minutes until the duck breast is slightly firm to the touch. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Whilst the duck is resting, reheat the potatoes adding the parsley at the last minute. Warm the lettuce in the oven and gently warm the sauce.
Place a large quenelle of mash to one side of the plate. Place the baby gem alongside. Slice the duck breast into 6 slices on the angle. Arrange this on top of the gem. Spoon the peas and sauce around the plate.
«Allow the duck to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. This will ensure tender, evenly cooked duck.»
Roasted duck breast served on a bed of braised baby gem with buttery peas and herb pommes puree.