Salad.  I love salad.

From fall through winter, we don’t eat a lot of them.  I know that most of the ingredients are availablr year-round, but my body thinks seasonal.  When it starts turning cold, I want soups, stews, and casseroles.  But at the first sign of warmer weather, my body starts screaming for greens.  And then through September, those luscious leaves are a regular part of the meal – and the cycle begins anew…

I picked up a duck breast with the thought that it would make a great salad.  What I didn’t know was just how great it was going to be!

I found a recipe in Bon Appetit that looked promising, and with a few tweaks, it came out fantastic!

The salad consisted of grilled duck breast, mixed greens, a simple vinaigrette of sherry vinegar and olive oil, toasted walnuts, fresh peaches, blackberry port sauce, and little sun-dried tomato bread toasts with a triple cream brie ever so slightly melted on top.

Dinner for Two:

Grilled Duck Salad with Blackberry Port Sauce

  • 1 duck breast
  • 1 bag mixed greens
  • 1 fresh peach
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • artisan bread
  • triple cream brie
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Make blackberry port sauce first.

Season duck breast with a bit of salt and pepper and grill until medium rare – about 6-8 minutes over moderate heat.  Set aside.

Toast small slices of bread.  Place slices of brie on top.  Set aside.

Make a simple vinaigrette with sherry vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper.

Toss mixed greens with vinaigrette and place on plates.

Slice peaches and place on salad.

Slice duck breast and place on salad.

Spoon blackberry port sauce over duck.

Sprinkle with walnuts.

Place cheese toasts briefly under broiler to slightly melt.  Place on salad.


Blackberry Port Sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cored, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 750-ml bottle Port
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water

Saute onion, apple and garlic in olive oil until onion is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add Port; reduce heat to medium. Simmer until mixture is reduced to 2 cups, about 30 minutes. Strain mixture; return liquid to saucepan. Discard solids in strainer. Add stock to saucepan; simmer until liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Stir in cornstarch and cook until thickened. Add blackberries. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over grilled duck.

It was actually really simple to pull together, and easy enough for a “school night” but awesome enough for company!  The sauce was totally excellent!  I used a $4.99 bottle of port because I wasn’t about to boil down an expensive bottle.  (I figured it was like doing a balsamic reduction.  I don’t use the expensive stuff for those, either!)  It rocked.

And…  Since we had peaches and blackberries…


Life is good.