A Romantic Meal for Two – Pan-Fried Duck Breast Salad with Mixed Berries & Walnuts
It’s nearly that time of year again, the silly season of cupids, hearts and soppy cards…….I know, I sound like an old cynic, and a thoroughly unromantic grumpy “not so old” woman to boot……but the thing is this, I have never been one for celebrating Valentine’s Day, well not in the big balloons and velvet heart cushion kind of way; if we celebrate the day at all, that is the royal “we” as in my husband and I, we tend to indulge in a special bottle of wine and a meal out, or, I prepare something nice at home. I would be mortified if he suddenly swept me of my slipper clad feet and presented me with a large padded card and a cuddly soft toy, although, jewellery always comes in handy thinking about it……call me staid and boring, but I am just as happy to sit at home next to the log fire with a damn good bottle of Red having previously eaten something totally delicious. I am not averse to being taken out, but when the weather is minus 5 degrees, the car doors are frozen and that nice little romantic “Italian” is heaving at the seams with lovey-dovey couples all smooching and trilling, just pass me the corkscrew, let the cat in and lock the doors please.
Now this is just the kind of recipe that I would make for us on the romantic eve’ – maybe as a starter (halve the ingredients if that is the case) or as a lovely main course with about 3 metres of baguette to accompany it, and that bottle of Red I was banging on about earlier. Draw the curtains, chuck another log on the fire and light those candelabras……..get smoochy if you must, but please do it in the comfort of your own home and out of sight…….as we will be doing! I know Oysters are the usual food of love on these heady occasions, and I may yet serve a dozen as a starter, but for those of you who collapse at the sight of a raw mollusc, Give Game a Go and Do Duck this year, unless you are vegetarian, in which case, ditch the duck and add some suitably sexy goat’s cheese to the platter.
What I love about food like this is, that if you source great ingredients you are only dealing with four main elements – duck breasts, walnuts, berries and salad…..with the oil and vinegar for a dressing of course. Great food is not dependant on throwing hundreds of things into the cooking pot so to speak, and some ingredients need room to shine. I tend to think that duck is one of those ingredients – don’t smother it in an orange sauce, go fresh and berry-like, think clean acidic flavours to cut through the richness of that divine duck breast, be bold in what you DON’T add to the recipe, and let all the ingredients sing……opera, jazz or rock and roll, whatever, just liberate those saucieres. I don’t mean to lecture, but it has always been a mystery to me why so much wonderful produce is smothered in sauces with excessive spices and herbs; it then becomes invisible beneath its cumbersome disguise…….I am going to dress with less this month!
That’s it for today, I hope this recipe inspires you enough to try it for a romantic meal this Valentine’s Day, or any other day you fancy being romantic come to that. And, as for the seasonal aspect of this dish, currants and berries are not “in” right now, and the ones that I used for the recipe in these photos were seasonally gathered and popped in the freezer at the end of last summer……I always “open” freeze my fruit on a tray before adding them to bags, hence the fruit being whole and not all “mashed” together…….it beats buying blackberries from Chile etc. Have a great day and see you later with more seasonal recipes, preserves and lemons is all I am going to say. Karen
Pan-Fried Duck Breast Salad with Mixed Berries
|Prep time||5 minutes|
|Cook time||10 minutes|
|Total time||15 minutes|
|By author||Karen S Burns-Booth|
- 100g mixed berries and soft fruit (such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, and whitecurrants )
- 75g Salad leaves (such as Mesclun leaves)
- 6 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 duck breasts, about 175g each
- 50g walnuts, lightly toasted
- salt and pepper, to season
|Step 1||Lightly score the skin of each breast in a diamond pattern, taking care not to cut into the flesh. Season the meat with salt and pepper and the skin with salt. Put a dry, heavy-based frying pan over a high heat. Add the duck, skin-side down, lower the heat to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden brown. Turn the breasts over and cook for 5 minutes if you like them pink, or longer if you like them a little more cooked. Remove the breasts, place onto a board and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Cut them diagonally to make long thin slices.|
|Step 2||Arrange the Mesclun salad leaves on a plate and place the sliced duck breast over the top, one duck breast per person.|
|Step 3||Whisk the raspberry vinegar and olive oil together, and season to taste.|
|Step 4||Scatter the berries and currants over the salad and sliced duck breast and then drizzle the dressing over the top, before adding the toasted walnuts. Serve with crusty bread.|
I am entering this recipe into Ren’s Simple and in Season event, with the walnuts, winter salad leaves and duck being the seasonal elements!
simran kamath says
this looks absolutely beautiful…..bursting with colour and taste.yum!
Thanks so much, it is a lovely combination of flavours and very colourful as you so rightly said!
Sarah Oxley says
I love this salad. I’m a huge Duck fan, so the meat gets my approval, but I love the idea of adding berries to it. It’s hearty, fresh and tasty looking dish. Can’t wait to give it a go. 🙂
Thanks Sarah! I did of course cook the duck in a Le Creuset sauté pan! The berries really cut through the richness of the duck, it’s a great combo I think.
Sylvie (A Pot of Tea) says
What a pretty loking meal. Why go out if this is what you can have at home?!
I agree Sylvie – close the door, get cosy and cook this! Karen xx
Misk Cooks says
This might convince my husband that Valentine’s Day isn’t a creation of Hallmark cards.
Great – let me know the outcome!
This looks absolutely delicious! I love Valentines Day but I have no patience for leaving the house on it, I was looking for a good recipe to make and this might be it!
Thanks Jenny! I hope you try this, let me know if you do!
absolutely bloody, divinely, delicious!!!… this is what I want YOU to cook for ME for valentines day… i’m expecting you to come back fromFrench France and do that for me … HOKAY…?… duck duck duck duck….
Thanks Duckie! I will of course fly over avec duck and cook this for you!!
Jenny Eatwell says
I very nearly decorated my computer monitor with a fine spray of mineral water when I read “heaving at the seams with lovey-dovey couples all smooching and trilling”. LOL But it’s so true – and for me, equally as repugnant. *chuckle* I’m totally in love with your recipe, though. Just HOW completely gorgeous – and full of promise – does it look. Go to the top of the class immediately. 🙂
LOVELY to see you here Jenny! Welcome and take a seat! Thanks for your comments, as usual, you and I in a accord!
Oh Karen – this looks divine! I’ve been meaning to cook some duck breasts – here’s the perfect recipe!
Thanks Mary, this is a really stunning recipe, BUT, it is so easy to make too….giving you more time to be romantic! LOL!
I love all the ingredients in this beautiful seasonal salad. What a good idea to freeze berries for use in a dish such as this, especially with the use of raspberry vinegar too. I may have to show this to my husband to give him an idea about what to make me for Valentine’s day, a rare thing for him to cook, but think he could cope with this!
Thanks Laura! This IS a very man-proof recipe! It’s easy to cook the duck breasts and then just assemble the salad, eh voila!
Such a pretty dish Karen. I wish I liked Duck, but alas I don’t. We always stay home at Valentines. I know that I can prepare a much nicer meal at home and at a fraction of the cost. I do love to cook. It’s a joy for me, so I don’t mind at all. A box of chocolates from my honey is always welcome though! lol
Thanks Marie! I am hoping that your honey treats you to a BIG box of chocolates this year! And yes, I agree about cooking at home too! XX
A Trifle Rushed says
Karen, what a delightful meal. I’ll certainly try it the next time we have a meal on our own….perhaps in 20 years time:-).
The duck breasts look sumptuous, perfect with the salad, fruits and nuts… Jude x
LOL! Jude, you made me laugh! This would be a lovely light lunch too…..maybe for ladies who lunch?! xxx
Duck is one of my absolute favorite meats! I can never find duck breasts here, though. I guess I’ll just have to buy and entire duck and confit the legs. Oh well! 🙂
GOOD idea Lauren! Buy a whole canard, take the magrets off and confit the cuisses! Bah oui! Karen
Loving your fancy new site, Karen and the duck dish looks amazing!
Aw thanks Hannah! Lovely to see you here! Karen
Not a big fan of duck as such but a very big fan of the beautiful photogrpahs – these are stunning! Just the right amount of vibrance that even a non ducker like me is interested!
Thanks! What a lovely thing to say! This salad is also good sans canard and with goat’s cheese! Karen
Not a big fan of duck as such but a very big fan of the beautiful photographs – these are stunning! Just the right amount of vibrance that even a non ducker like me is interested!
Janice (serialcrafter) says
Oh yes, I recognise that Valentine sentiment or rather lack of it and would be shocked if it were any other way! We don’t usually do anything for Valentines, not even a special meal. But we like it that way.
Ah, then it’s not just me then Janice! I would rather buy some nice wine and cook at home! xx
Janice (serialcrafter) says
oops clicked that before saying how gorgeous your duck salad.
Dave at eRecipeCards says
Karen, JUST STUNNING PHOTOS. You are always among the best food stylists.
Jackie and I are home bodies for the day as well. First, restaurants are always too crowded and the staff just wants you in and out fast. On the rare occasions we do go out, we like to linger. And of course, I can usually cook better than they do… As, I am sure your Mister thinks so as well.
I do a cherry salsa with beef roast that is similar. have to look that up and see how similar this is. Sounds like i could make that into a salad like yours!
Thanks Dave! LOVE the sound of your cherry salsa beef roast, yes, berries and rich meat is SUCH a perfect combo! Many thanks for your very kind comments…..I will be over to eRecipe cards soon, I just need to adjust my image size to be able to post them there, too many pixels! LOL!
Ren Behan says
I LOVE this recipe Darlink! I love that it’s man-proof too, maybe I can pursuade hubs to cook this for ME! I’m with you on the staying in. Thanks for linking up to Simple and in Season! Perfecto x
This is VERY easy for most men to cook, and the flavours are divine! Yep, with the temperatures dropping to minus 5, it is a DEFINITE supper by the fire with a bottle of wine for us!
Selina Periampillai (@yummychooeats) says
Thi s looks lovely and fresh with the berries add some colour too! Really like simple dishes like this!
May thanks Selina, I also love simple recipes, with great seasonal and local ingredients too.
I made this for supper last night and it was truly wonderful. So simple but so, so good. Can’t recommend it highly enough!
THANKS so much for leaving a comment to let me know that you enjoyed this recipe, I am chuffed to bits! It’s good to share!
Kevin Friend says