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Buttermilk Balsamic Duck Salad

Buttermilk Balsamic Duck SaladRecipe courtesy of California Raisin Marketing Board.

Recipe Ingredients:

1 cup balsamic vinegar
Juice of 2 large oranges
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
2 whole duck breasts (four halves, one half per serving)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced into 3/4-inch cubes
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil - divided use
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small shallot, peeled and minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 cups arugula leaves
1/2 cup California raisins
1/2 cup pecans

Cooking Directions:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the vinegar, orange juice and brown sugar, packed to a boil. Reduce the mixture to a syrupy consistency. Set aside to cool.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Using a sharp knife, make crisscross cuts in the fatty skin of the duck breasts, being careful not to cut into the flesh part of the breasts. Place the breast halves in the pan, skin-side down and slowly render away most of the fat. You will need to pour off the accumulated fat once or twice. This process takes about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile in a shallow baking dish, toss the diced squash with the sage and 2 tablespoon of olive oil. season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast in 325°F (160°C) oven until just tender, about 12 minutes. Set aside.
  4. When the duck breasts have rendered most of their fat, turn them skin-side up and bake in 325°F (160°C) oven for 8 to 10 minutes for medium or to desired doneness. (Duck breast is most succulent and tender when rosy pink.) Allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
  5. To Assemble: In a large salad bowl, whisk together the shallot, lemon juice and remaining olive oil. season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the arugula and toss well to coat the greens. Divide arugula among 4 large salad plates. Mound the cooled butternut squash in the center of the arugula. Slice the duck breasts on the bias into 1/2-inch slices and arrange on top. Drizzle the reserved balsamic reduction over the salads and sprinkle with the raisins and pecans. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe and photograph courtesy of California Raisin Marketing Board.