Spring Duck Salad:
Preparation Time:15 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Total Yield: 6 salads
Equipment: Blender or robo coupe, saute pan, tongs, spoon, bowl, cutting board knife
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Pat duck breast dry and using a sharp knife, score the skin with a cross- hatch pattern.
The first step is to score the fat to help it render more efficiently. Make very shallow cuts in a tight crisscross pattern across the surface of the duck. With a sharp knife, this requires virtually no pressure: just slide the blade along, while barely breaking through the skin. If you prefer to render out more of the fat, simply make deeper cuts. Do not be tempted to remove it prior to cooking. That layer of fat protects the meat, allowing you to cook it gently and evenly; because duck is best served medium-rare.
- Start the glaze: toast the chile pieces in a skillet, pressing them down firmly with a spatula for a few seconds until they release a toasty aroma, then flip them, and press down the other side. Place the chiles into a small bowl, cover with hot water and let rehydrate for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the soaking water.
- In a blender or robo coupe: combine the ancho chiles, the reserved soaking liquid, garlic, oregano, pepper, cumin, honey, pinot noir and 1 teaspoon salt. Blend to a smooth puree, scraping down and stirring frequently. Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a small bowl. Set aside 1/2 cup of the glaze for the dressing.
- Place 2 of the duck breasts seasoned with salt skin side down in a pan on medium-low* heat. Sear for 6 minutes until richly brown and the skin is crispy, flip and sear the underside for 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and repeat this procedure with the remaining breasts.
- Take the remaining ancho glaze and brush the top of each of the duck breasts. Place the baking sheet into the center of the preheated oven at 325 degrees and roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.
- Sautee the corn with a bit of the leftover rendered duck fat.
- To make the dressing: blend together the dressing ingredients: ancho glaze reserved, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, honey, and salt
- Once the duck breasts have been sliced, plate up individual servings by arranging the rocket greens on the plate. Fan out the duck breast slices and sprinkle the radish slices, mango, and avocado over the top of the salad. Place the julienned scallions on each of the salads and sautéed corn on top- drizzle on the dressing.
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*When duck breast is seared at a higher temperature, the flesh quickly cooks before enough fat has rendered out, leaving you with a thick, flabby layer of fat over tough meat. When you use gentle heat, the fat has time to render off, while heat slowly transfers to the flesh through the buffer of the thick skin layer. This gives you tender flesh with a minimal gradient, as well as delicious, crisp skin.