Butternut Balsamic Duck Salad

Submitted by: Roy Harland

Sweet, chewy raisins provide palate-teasing nuances to this salad.



  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of 2 large oranges
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 whole duck breasts (4 halves, 1 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
  • 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
  • 1/4 cup pecans


In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the vinegar, orange juice and brown sugar to a boil. Reduce the mixture to a syrupy consistency. Set aside to cool.

Heat a large sautépan over mediun 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.

Meanwhile in a shallow baking dish, toss the diced squash with the sage and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast in 325°F oven until just tender, about 12 minutes. Set aside.

When the duck breasts have rendered most of their fat, turn them skin-side up and bake in 325°F 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.

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.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories 790 (63% from fat); Total Fat 56g (sat 14g, mono 25g, poly 6g, trans 0g ); Cholesterol 95mg; Protein 26g; Carbohydrate 47g; (Dietary Fiber 6g; Sugars 35g; ); Iron 6mg; Sodium 105mg; Calcium 160mg; Potassium 914mg

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