Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hoisin Duck Breast Salad [Zack]

Any time I order duck at a restaurant, it's either an amazing dish, or it's tough and not that tasty.  I think that most of it has to do with how it's cooked and the quality of the meat.  All of the fancy restaurants serve their duck breasts medium-rare (like a nice steak) and this seems to be one of the main keys to success.

This salad is different than your normal mixed greens vinaigrette.  The toughest part is judging when the duck breast is cooked, but you can always use a thermometer and let it come to 130F / 54C.


Start by taking the duck breast out of the fridge 30 minutes before you want to cook it so it comes to room temperature.  It will cook more evenly because it's an constant temperature throughout the meat (instead of being cold in the middle).  Put it on a plate and pat it dry so it will brown better in your pan.  You can score the skin in a cross-hatch pattern which would help it render more of the fat - I'll do this next time.  Rub it with paprika, salt, and pepper and set aside.

Dice up your ginger, shallots, and garlic.  In a small sauce pot on medium low heat, slowly sweat the shallots and ginger in the sesame oil.  After a few minutes, add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Then add in your hoisin sauce, vinegar, and sriracha.  Cook down for about 5 minutes so it's not runny and sticks to the spoon.

While the sauce is cooking down, put the ginger, garlic, shallot, chile, and vinegar to the food processor and blend until it's a smooth paste.  Then, add miso paste, honey, oils, and mayo in the food processor and blend again until you have a silky dressing.

Pre-heat your oven to 400F / 200C and start your oven-proof frying pan on medium low heat and let it come up to temperature for 10 minutes.  Add some sesame oil to the pan and place the duck breast skin side down.

Let the fat render for a few minutes until it's brown and crispy.

When the skin is nicely browned (in 6 - 9minutes), flip the duck breast over and coat with your hoisin sauce and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Place the whole pan into the oven and cook until medium-rare (6 - 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat).  Let it rest for 10 minutes so the juices distribute evenly through the meat and don't end up on your cutting board.  Slice thinly against the grain with your sharpest knife.

Toss your greens with the dressing and slice the avocado vertically and layer on top of the salad.  Add the sliced duck breast to the salad and go nuts with the sesame seeds!

Serves 2-3 for a full meal or 4-6 for a small appetizer

1 duck breast with the skin on
paprika, salt, and pepper
Hoisin Glaze:
1/2 inch ginger
1 clove garlic
1 small shallot diced
2T Hoisin Sauce
1T Sriracha (or less if it's too spicy)
1/2 T Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil

Salad Dressing:
1 T miso paste
2 T rice wine vinegar
1 T Kewpie Mayo
1/2 T honey
1/2 inch ginger
1 clove garlic
1 small shallot diced
1 small bird's eye chile
1 T sesame oil
2 T canola oil (or non-flavored oil)

1 avocado

Song to jam to:
Maxwell - Something Something


  1. Sven prepared this dish for dinner last night! And it was delicious!!! Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to see you guys back in Belgium!

  2. Zack made this when Lauren's parents came to visit us in New Albany. We had never met them, and Zack's goal was cook to impress. A dangerous plan. (Things usually go down in flames when you try too hard.) But he sliced the duck breast, fanned it on a pretty plate alternating with thin slices of avocado. It was the centerpiece of a beautiful alfresco meal, and it ranks as one of the tastiest things I've ever eaten. Way to go Zack!