Ariane’s Gascon Salad with Duck

This easy salad recipe is a classic in Gascony, the region of Southwest France famous for its culinary artistry with duck. With three types of duck charcuterie (plus duck fat!) it is a fulsome and flavorful way to enjoy a salad that’s more like a meal.
Ariane’s Gascon Salad with Duck

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons duck fat
  • 2 ounces ventrèche, cut into lardons
  • 12 small, fresh chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
  • 4 duck leg confit, or 2 cut in half for smaller portions
  • 1 ounce duck prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • 1 ounce smoked duck breast, thinly sliced
  • 1 head frisée, washed, dried well, and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 cups mâche, washed and dried well
  • 1 ½ tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons whole kernel corn
  • 2 large radishes, thinly sliced
  • ½ shallot, diced
  • Chives, for garnish

Preparation

  1. Combine frisée and mâche in a mixing bowl, set aside.
  2. In a medium sauté pan, over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of duck fat. Add the ventrèche and cook until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels.
  3. In the same pan, on medium-high, heat the duck leg confit until skin is crisped and meat is warm throughout. Remove and set aside. Add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté until lightly golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Remove with a slotted spoon.
  4. Add the remaining duck fat to the pan. Once melted, remove from the heat and whisk in the balsamic vinegar. Pour half of this warm dressing over the frisée and mâche mixture, tossing to coat evenly.
  5. Assemble the salad. Lay the dressed lettuces on a serving platter. Scatter the shallots, corn, and ventrèche lardons evenly over the lettuce. Lay the duck leg in the center with slices of duck prosciutto and smoked duck breast evenly distributed around the confit leg. Add the radishes and chanterelles to the platter. Spoon the rest of the vinaigrette over the salad, garnish with chives. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread and Madiran red wine.