For the bitter greens in this recipe, try red Asian mustard greens, watercress or dandelion leaves torn into a bite-sized pieces. You can also use additional whole baby arugula leaves. The flavorful greens, combined with rich duck breast, fresh cherries and a light champagne vinaigrette, make a gorgeous spring lunch or dinner.
Bitter Greens with Duck Breast & Cherries
For the champagne vinaigrette:
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. champagne vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 small heads radicchio
1 cup (1 oz./30 g.) baby arugula leaves
1/2 cup (1/2 oz./15 g.) torn bitter greens
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 whole boneless duck breast
1 cup (1/4 lb./125 g.) fresh cherries, pitted and halved, or 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) dried tart cherries
To make the vinaigrette, in a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is well blended. Set aside.
Using a sharp knife, cut away the hard white core from the base of the radicchio. Cut the head lengthwise into slices 1/4 inch (6 mm.) thick, then separate the layers and remove the hard V-shaped core. Put the cut radicchio in the bowl holding the vinaigrette. Add the arugula, bitter greens and parsley and gently mix. Set aside.
Pat the duck breast dry. In a frying pan, warm 1/2 teaspoon salt over high heat. When it is hot, add the duck breast, skin side down. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until crisp and golden brown on the first side, 6-7 minutes. Turn and cook the other side until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Cover the pan and cook until the duck breast is medium-rare, another 3-4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly.
Place the duck breast on a cutting board and separate the breast halves. Cut each half crosswise into slices 1/4 inch (6 mm.) thick.
Heap the dressed radicchio mixture onto a platter and arrange the duck slices and cherries on top of it. Serve warm. Serves 4.
Find more creative and colorful salads in our cookbook Salad of the Day, by Georgeanne Brennan.