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Crispy Duck Salad with Warm Garlic Confit Vinaigrette


This is the kind of recipe I love, where a little bit of a specialty ingredient goes a long way. It makes me seem like I went all out with the high end items, and my grocery bill isn’t actually all that outrageous. Nevertheless, the duck can be substituted for chicken cutlet for a delicious alternative.



Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius).

Place whole garlic cloves in small saucepan and set aside. Rinse and dry duck well with paper towels. Score skin so fat will render properly. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper, allow to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes to ensure even cooking. After 15 minutes, pat dry again.


Place the duck skin-side down in large, cold skillet. (This is important! A hot pan will cook the duck before the fat renders. Not delicious.) Turn the heat to medium low. As duck begins to cook, several tablespoons of melted duck fat will render into the pan. Remove fat with spoon and transfer to saucepan with garlic.


Cook duck for about seven minutes or until the fat is all rendered out and the skin is crispy and golden. Turn the duck skin side up and sear an additional two minutes. Transfer, skin side up, to baking dish or aluminum pan and bake for three to four minutes, depending on the thickness of duck cutlet.

Duck is meant to be served like beef, medium to medium rare. If you prefer it well done, bake it an additional two to three minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest at least five minutes.


While duck is in oven, turn garlic and duck fat to medium-low heat until fat is bubbling and the garlic cloves are fork tender. Remove garlic cloves from pan and mash well. Place garlic in skillet that was used to cook duck and turn heat to low. Add honey, mustard, apple cider vinegar, and one tablespoon water. Whisk and add two tablespoons of duck fat back in, whisking slowly until the mixture becomes smooth and cohesive. Add another tablespoon of water to reach the desired consistency if dressing is too thick.


Assemble salad by tossing arugula, walnuts, grapefruit segments, and fennel in a bowl. Dress with warm vinaigrette. Slice duck thinly (you should be able to get 12–15 slices per cutlet). Arrange four slices of duck on each plate and serve immediately.


This can easily be done with chicken cutlet instead. Buy skin-on chicken cutlet (boneless — ask your butcher to do this for you or debone it yourself) and cook it in a hot skillet with one tablespoon oil for six to eight minutes on the skin side, three to four minutes on the flip side. Finish in the oven the same way as the duck. In place of duck fat in the confit and vinaigrette, use unflavored oil like vegetable or canola. And don’t throw the leftover oil out! Garlic-infused oil makes excellent salad dressings, roasted vegetables, and just about anything else. (Just remember that it’s fleishig.)