Seared Duck Breast & Grilled Peach Salad
by Market Chef Maggie Perkins
1 bunch amaranth greens (Johnson’s Backyard Garden)
3 small cucumbers, sliced (Flintrock Hill Farm or Johnson’s Backyard Garden)
Several sprigs of basil , destemmed (Johnson’s Backyard Garden)
3 small red onions, peeled and quartered and seared (Johnson’s Backyard Garden)
4-5 small mild banana peppers seared (Johnson’s Backyard Garden)
4 small peaches, grilled (Zenner Orchards or Engel Farms)
1 whole fresh duck breast, skin on, seared to medium rare, and sliced (Belle Vie Farms)
Lemon Pesto Vinaigrette
Prepare ingredients as noted below. On a bed of well washed and dried amaranth greens, compose salad by grouping components and arranging on platter as shown. Dress with Lemon Pesto Vinaigrette, and season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve.
Halve unpeeled peaches and remove pit. In a dry cast iron skillet over high heat (alternatively on a cast iron griddle on a pre-heated grill or directly on clean, oiled grate), place peaches, cut side down. Leave untouched until seared fully (either grate marks or seared surface, depending upon method of cooking), then turn and brown on opposite side until peaches are tender. Remove from heat and reserve to assemble salad.
In 2 tablespoons reserved duck fat in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, brown vegetables on one side until well charred, then turn and repeat with opposite side, until vegetables are tender and browned fully.
LEMON PESTO VINAIGRETTE
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 cup lemon infused olive oil (I used Texas Hill Country Olive Co olive oil)
2 tablespoons prepared pesto (I used Kala Kuisine’s Basil & Walnut Pesto)
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a wide bottomed mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar and dijon mustard. Continue whisking while drizzling in olive oil in a thin stream. When fully blended/emulsified, stir in prepared pesto. Correct seasonings to taste.
SEARING DUCK BREAST
courtesy of Serious Eats
With a sharp knife, gently score duck breasts in a tight crosshatch pattern, keeping the scores 1/8 inch apart. If you prefer a little fat left on the breasts after cooking, just barely score the skin; to render more fat, score more deeply, taking care not to expose the flesh.
Season duck breasts with salt, heavily on the skin side and lightly on the flesh side.
Place duck breast, skin side down, in a large, cold sauté pan. Place pan over low to medium-low heat. To keep the edges from curling up, press duck breasts down with the help of a smaller sauté pan. After about 5 minutes, the fat should begin to gently bubble. If the fat is either silent or spitting, adjust heat accordingly. Maintain the gentle bubble of fat, pouring out excess rendered fat throughout the cooking process, (RESERVING!) until much of the fat has rendered, skin is golden brown, and duck’s internal temperature is 125°F (52°C), about 15 minutes.
Increase heat to medium and further brown skin if needed, about 1 minute, before flipping and cooking on the flesh side. For medium-rare meat, cook until breast registers 130°F (54°C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 to 2 minutes. Continue cooking until duck registers 140°F (60°C) for medium or 155°F (68°F) for well-done. Remove duck from pan and set aside to rest. When cool enough to handle, slice thinly to arrange on salad platter.