Mesclun Duck Breast Salad with Raspberry Shallot Vinaigrette
Source: Marcel Biró, Biró.
This is one of my personal favorites and can be used as a salad or entrée. I love the way the buttery flavor and texture of the duck is balanced with the slightly sweet yet tart acidity of the raspberry vinaigrette. You may use mixed baby greens for this recipe or create your own mesclun mix by tearing bite-sized pieces of baby red oak leaf, baby arugula, baby mâche, endive, frisée, and radicchio. This recipe is deceptively easy and takes just 20 minutes to prepare.
1 pound duck muscovy or white pekin duck breasts
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 shallots, diced
2 teaspoons sugar or honey
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound mesclun greens
Raspberries for garnish
Raspberry coulis for garnish
For the duck breast
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a very sharp knife and being careful to not cut into the meat, score the skin of the duck breasts in a crisscross pattern. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large sauté pan over high heat until very hot. Place the duck breasts in the pan, skin side down, and sear them until some of the fat has melted and the skin is brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn the breasts over and cook them for an additional 3 minutes. Pour off the fat and discard, or chill it and use it as a spread for bread and crackers.
- Place the duck breasts on a baking rack and bake until medium rare, about 8 minutes. Transfer the breasts onto a warm platter, skin side up, and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Allow them to rest so the juices that collected in the breast’s center during cooking have time to redistribute throughout the meat, making it tender and juicy.
For the raspberry-shallot vinaigrette
- In a small bowl, combine the raspberry and sherry vinegars, mustard, shallots, sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk together thoroughly. Slowly whisk in the oil to emulsify. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and sugar, if needed.
- Let rest to infuse the vinegar for at least 15 minutes, and then adjust seasoning, if necessary.
Assemble greens on individual plates and drizzle with dressing. Fan the duck atop the salad and garnish with the raspberries. Drizzle raspberry coulis on the plate.
Quick Tip: Scoring Duck Breast Filets
- Why do I score my duck filets before cooking? There are 3 reasons:
- Scoring the filet allows some fat to escape from the meat into the pan, allowing you to cook it without adding additional fat. Duck is lean, and this keeps the dish light and preserves the duck’s natural flavor.
- Scoring allows flavor in, enabling the salt and pepper to be introduced directly to the meat, rather than just to its skin.
- Most importantly, scoring the filet prevents it from curling up in the pan, which would make it cook unevenly.