This Skillet-Seared Thai Duck Salad marries citrus, ginger, fresh herbs, and Thai chiles—and as you might have guessed the seared duck breast tops it off superbly. While it is lighter fare, it is a satisfying main-course salad.
Friday night was dine-in date night, so I served it on one large plate for us to share. We could not stop talking about the deep heat of the red Thai bird chili, the luscious duck breast, or the playfulness of the fresh herbs with citrus-ginger sauce (okay, maybe that was the one-plate effect).
Let the spice in this salad bring a little spice to life and plan a special evening with your sweetheart—yes, salad can be romantic. As it turns out, Thai Duck Salad is great date food!
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Skillet-Seared Thai Duck Salad
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh red Thai bird chile
- 2 whole duck breasts (about 12 ounces each)
- 1/3 cup minced shallot
- 1 ½ tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
- ¼ cup fish sauce (see note below)
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons palm sugar or light brown sugar
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 head red leaf lettuce , washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1 cup julienned red bell pepper
- Place the chile in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and cook, until lightly colored and fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove the chile from the pan and add to a salad bowl.
- Using a paring knife, score the fatty side of the duck breasts by making shallow cuts in a diamond pattern; this allows the fat to render more easily. Place the duck breasts in the skillet, fatty side down, and cook over medium heat until the skin is golden brown and slightly crisp, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board, slice them into thin strips, and return the strips to the skillet. Add the shallot and ginger and stir-fry over medium-high heat until the duck is just cooked through about 2 minutes. Transfer the duck to the bowl with the chile and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, orange juice, and palm sugar and mix well. Pour the mixture over the duck and toss until well coated. Add the cilantro, mint, basil, lettuce, bean sprouts, and julienned red pepper and toss to combine. Serve the salad immediately.