Peel celeriac with a paring knife and cut into chunks that will fit through the neck of a food processor. Place shredding blade in the processor and shred the celeriac. In a large bowl, combine celeriac with the mayo, Dijon, preserved lemon and season to taste with salt and white pepper. Cover and chill in refrigerator.
Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about an hour or until a fork passes through them easily. Allow to cool and then place the flesh in a bowl, discarding the skins. Add the egg, beaten, maple syrup and salt and pepper to taste. Put the Panko bread crumbs on a plate, form the sweet potato mixture into 4 cakes and coat on both sides with the Panko. Heat the oil in a frying pan to medium and lightly brown slowly on both sides. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Cover to keep warm.
Mix ingredients for spice rub in a bowl and set aside. Score the fat side of the duck breast across one way, and then across the opposite way. Generously rub spice mixture on both sides of the duck breasts. In an oven safe frying pan, sear on top of stove over medium high heat, fat side down for 3 to 4 minutes or until the fat side is crispy, but not burned. Turn over and sear for another 3 to 4 minutes. Place pan in oven for another 8 minutes , or until duck is medium rare. Set aside, covered, to rest before carving into slices about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
Place 1 sweet potato cake on each plate, surrounded with the carved duck and put a portion (not too big) of the celeriac slaw next to it.
Elizabeth Dougherty has been cooking and writing about food intensively for more than ten years. She is the fourth generation of chefs and gourmet grocers in her family with her mother, Francesca Esposito and grandmother, Carmella being major influences in her early cooking years. As a teenager, her family sent her to Europe where she became focused on French and Italian cuisine. She survived a year and half of culinary tutelage under a maniacal Swiss-German chef and is a graduate of NYIT, Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality, Business and Labor Relations.
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