(Family Features) – During the warm summer months, salad makes for a refreshing lunch or convenient dinner option that can be delicious and nutritious. With a variety of salad options available, they don’t have to be boring or monotonous.
For example, greens can instantly transform into a unique meal when you add creative options like duck breast to help elevate the dish. Because it’s a red meat, duck breast provides a hearty taste, similar to steak, while being leaner and lower in saturated fat than other red meats.
In this Cherry-Glazed Duck Breast Salad, homemade cherry vinaigrette glazes duck breast and dresses baby spinach while blue cheese and slivered almonds add texture and flavor. As a bonus, you can save the duck breast skin to make cracklins for a quick snack or crunchy salad topping.
Find more salad recipes and tips for cooking with duck at http://www.mapleleaffarms.com.
Cherry-Glazed Duck Breast Salad
Recipe courtesy of Chef Ted Cizma on behalf of Maple Leaf Farms
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
2 Maple Leaf Farms Boneless Duck Breasts
6 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves, washed and trimmed
2 cups blue cheese
2 cups slivered almonds
2 cups dried cherries, divided
3 cups hot water
1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
To make Cherry Vinaigrette: In small saucepan over low heat, cover 1 cup cherries with water. Bring to simmer, cover pan and remove from heat. Let cherries soak in hot water 15-20 minutes. Strain cherries and reserve liquid.
In food processor or blender, puree cherries until smooth, adding reserved liquid as necessary. Add raspberry vinegar to cherry mixture. With blender or food processor on low, slowly add olive oil, reserving about 2 tablespoons. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
Set aside Cherry Vinaigrette.
Heat grill to medium heat. Remove skin from duck breasts. Rub with remaining olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Pour some Cherry Vinaigrette into separate container to use as glaze; reserve remaining for dressing. Using pastry brush, coat duck breasts with Cherry Vinaigrette.
Cook duck until crisp and dark brown (about 5-6 minutes), turn over and recoat with Cherry Vinaigrette. Continue cooking until second side is crisp and brown, brushing with vinaigrette as needed, about 4 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 155 F. Remove to cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes.
Place spinach in mixing bowl. Toss spinach with enough dressing to coat leaves. Add blue cheese, almonds and most of remaining dried cherries, reserving some of each for garnish. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide spinach mixture among four bowls.
Slice duck breast thinly on bias, starting at one end of each breast with knife at 45-degree angle.
Fan slices of duck on top of each salad. Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese, almonds and dried cherries.