Monday, March 12, 2012

Seared Duck Breast Salad

Sometimes I come across a dish so divine, I know in an instant it'll become a treasured favorite. This salad is one such recipe. It appeals to me on so many levels in terms of flavor, color and texture. It is a downright sexy salad (not unlike another go-to sexy salad of mine) whose taste manages to hold its own against its vibrant appearance. Seriously, just throw some ruby red pomegranate seeds on any ol' recipe and you, too, can have yourself a sexy dish worthy of entertaining. ;)

We recently treated ourselves to a brand new All-Clad French skillet and I was trying to think of the best way to take it on its maiden voyage. Slowly seared duck breast totally fit the bill (har har). A beautiful - and easy - platter to prepare next time you see fresh duck breast on sale. Try it and let me know how it turns out!

Seared Duck Breast Salad
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

Serves 4

2 boneless duck breast halves, each 4 to 6 oz.
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 Tbs. sherry vinegar
7 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch arugula, washed and torn into 1-inch strips (if using baby arugula, no need to tear)
1 head frisée, washed and trimmed of thick green parts
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 Cara Cara oranges, peeled and cut into segments

Preheat oven to 350F.

Generously season the duck breast halves with salt and pepper. Using a sharp knife, score the skin by making a crisscross pattern, being careful not to cut into the meat.

Heat a large oven-safe sauté pan over medium-low heat. Place the duck, skin side down, in the pan and cook until the skin is very crisp and golden, 12 to 15 minutes. (Have a glass jar handy to pour off the fat as it renders away - don't throw out this liquid gold! Save for roast potatoes.) Once the skin is a nice golden brown, turn the duck over and briefly sear the other side. Transfer to oven and continue cooking until the duck is just springy when pressed with a finger for rare to medium-rare, 3 to 5 minutes more, or until done to your liking. Let the duck rest for 3 to 5 minutes before carving.

Put the vinegar in a small bowl and add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until well blended. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss together the arugula and frisée. Pour half the vinaigrette over the greens and toss to combine. Divide the salad among 4 plates (or present on one large platter, as I did) and scatter the walnuts and orange segments over the salads, dividing evenly.

Using a sharp carving knife, slice the duck across the grain into very thin slices and divide the duck among the salads. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette, making sure to drizzle some over the duck and orange segments. Serve immediately.


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