Seared Duck Breast Salad


Sometime I really wonder how our food tastes evolve as we grow to like certain foods but not others.  For instance I really could do without most poultry. It’s a rare day when I have any desire to eat let alone cook chicken or turkey meat.  But throw in some duck and I’m all aboard.  There is a restaurant in town that makes an amazing duck soup and another serving awesome duck tacos.  We frequent both of these restaurants often.  And duck confit, it really doesn’t get much better than this!  I guess duck is on the verge of being game rather than poultry but the texture is definitely similar which makes me wonder why I like duck so much more than other poultry.  I guess the flavor hits the spot for me.

I recently flipped through the cookbook Barefoot Contessa At Home.  I love the simplicity of Ina’s recipes and I always walk away from them inspired.  One of the dishes that caught my eye was a duck salad.  She baked the duck breast and served it atop a lovely salad containing orange segments and zest.  It sounded delicious and left my mouth watering for duck.  I figured I’d give it a go and see what I could come up with.  I originally intended to bake the duck breasts but Josh loves cracklings so I switched up my method.  Since I have never cooked duck I did a little research and found the method to be pretty easy.

  1. Season both sides of the duck breasts with s&p.
  2. Heat up a skillet over medium-high heat.  Place duck breasts skin side down cook until the skin is browned, 10-15 minutes.  As the breasts cook pour off the fat to keep it at 1/8″ high in the bottom of the skillet.
  3. Once the skin is nice and brown flip the breasts over, cook for 30-45 seconds, and flip back onto the skin.
  4. Place skillet in a 400° and cook duck breasts for 5 minutes to reach a medium rare.  I opted to cook mine for 7 as I was going for a more medium temperature.
  5. Remove skillet from oven, place breasts on a cooling rack, and loosely tent with foil.  Allow the duck breasts to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

For the salad I used a boxed mix of herb greens, adding roasted pecans and halved grapes.  The dressing I used was Garlic Expressions, a Trader Joe’s dressing.  The dressing is light with an awesome flavor.  If you have a Trader Joe’s in town it’s a must buy.  We received our bottle as a gift, thanks Nan!  And lastly the salad was topped with thinly sliced pecorino romano.

This salad turned out to be delicious.  When my day comes to write a cookbook you can bet this recipe will be included!

Duck Salad (2 salads)

  • – 2 duck breasts (6 oz each)
  • – s&p
  • – greens
  • – pecans
  • – grapes, halved
  • – pecorino romano
  • – Garlic Expressions, or any other oil based dressing
  1. Cook duck.  Directions are listed above in post.
  2. While duck breasts rest, roast pecans for a few minutes until they are aromatic.
  3. In a large bowl add greens, pecans, and grapes.  Toss together with salad dressing.  
  4. Place greens on a plate, top with thin slices of pecorino romano, and lastly sliced duck breast.

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