Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Duck Breast Salad
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
This is a very versatile summer salad with fruit, vegetables and protein. This elegant main-course includes grapefruit and parsley both rich in Vitamin C, with the carrots loaded with beta-carotene, and the duck which offers a good dose of selenium.
For the salad:
12 ounces boneless duck breast, skin on
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 rosemary sprig
2 sage leaves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 pink grapefruit, peeled and sliced, zest reserved and julienned
1 cup julienned celery root
1 cup julienned carrot
2 cups curly endive, washed, dried, and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon minced Italian parsley
12 green peppercorn, crushed
For the dressing:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
6 green peppercorn, crushed
Make the salad: Preheat the oven to 500F. Make shallow incisions in the skin of the duck breast with a sharp knife. Heat the olive oil in a wide ovenproof skillet and add the duck; cook until browned on the outside over high heat, about 2 minutes per side, turning once. Add the rosemary, sage, salt, and the grapefruit zest; cook 1 more minute and transfer to the oven. Roast for 20 minutes. Combine the celery root, carrot, and endive on a serving platter. Remove the skin from the duck breast and thinly slice the meat; arrange it over the vegetables in the platter. Garnish with the grapefruit, parsley, and green peppercorns. While the duck cooks, make the dressing: Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and the peppercorns together in a medium bowl. Pour over the duck and serve.
Info on cooking duck:
As with any poultry, there’s always the chance that duck harbors harmful bacteria. But cooking duck is different than cooking chicken and turkey because it’s actually a red meat. As with other red meats, some people prefer to eat duck that’s cooked medium or medium rare so it’s still pink inside.
The official food safety word from the USDA is that duck breast should be cooked to at least 160°F and preferably to 170°F. If you cook a duck breast to 155°F (assuming that carryover cooking will continue to raise the temperature to 160°F as the duck rests), it will be medium well—safe to eat and still a little pink in the center, but perhaps a tad drier than you might like. If you’re pregnant or if you have a compromised immune system, this is the route you should take.
But if you prefer your duck a little pinker, cook it to 135° or 140°F and enjoy a medium-rare to medium duck breast. It isn’t guaranteed safe, but if you like your duck a little more juicy and tender, you might consider the slight risk to be worthwhile.
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