Duck Salad with Balsamic Cherries

This delicious and hearty warm duck salad is the perfect meal for any season. With sautéed balsamic cherries, onions, fresh cherry tomatoes, and fragrant mint, this salad will delight your taste buds. The dish is finished with crunchy Brazil nuts, adding a nutty flavour and textural contrast to the salad. Whether you’re looking for a filling lunch or a light dinner, this duck recipe is sure to hit the spot. Recently updated!


Duck Salad Recipe With Balsamic Cherries Onions & Mint
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My Warm Duck Salad With Cherries

I love duck meat. I think it’s a much tastier alternative to chicken, especially when cooked well, but it can be expensive and not always available so I don’t eat it as often as I’d like.

Whenever I see some well-priced duck, I treat myself to this lovely duck salad with balsamic cherries. I would probably categorize it as a warm salad as the duck breast and sauteed balsamic cherries and oniones are served heated over fresh, crispy salad leaves. However, you can also serve these ingredients cooled down.

This is a delicious and nourishing salad, that I think is also quite sexy, perfect for a special occasion like Valentine’s Day or a romantic dinner for two (or one).


How To Make Warm Duck Salad

The full recipe card with ingredients and a nutritional breakdown are below. Here are some step-by-step photos to guide you along.

  • Step 1. Wash and pat dry the duck breasts and bring to room temperature, leave them out of the fridge for about 15 minutes. Season with sea salt on each side.
Duck salad ingredients
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  • Step 2. Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add the coconut oil. While the pan is still heating, place the duck breasts, skin side down, to start rendering off the fat.
  • To render the fat off and get that lovely crispy skin, you need to cook the duck skin side down over medium heat, not too hot to not burn the skin and let the fat melt off slowly. Cook skin side down for 15 minutes. The duck fat will release into the frying pan and we will cook the onions and cherries in it.
How to cook duck breast in a pan
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  • Step 3. Prepare the cherries while the duck is cooking. Remove the tails and place the cherries on a cutting board. Press down gently with a knife until the cherry pops in half and the pit can be easily removed. Set the cherries aside.
  • Step 4. Slice the onions and tomatoes.
Slice onions and tomatoes for the salad
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  • Step 5. Add the sliced onion to the pan after about 10 minutes of duck cooking and arrange the slices around the breasts. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and cook in duck fat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring halfway. Then add the prepared cherries (reserve a few as fresh ones for garnish). Stir through with the onion.
  • By this stage our duck breasts will be ready to turn over. Cook on the flesh side for 3-4 minutes, and don’t forget to stir the cherries and onions on the side.
  • Then move the duck breasts to the side of the pan and turn them on their sides. Drizzle the onion and cherries with balsamic vinegar and stir through for a minute, until lightly caramelised.
  • Step 6. Remove the duck breasts on a cutting board and rest for 2-3 minutes. The flesh should be juicy, tender and slightly pink inside. 
  • Step 7. Arrange the salad on a large platter. Mix the salad dressing and drizzle over the salad leaves. Slice the duck breasts and place them on the top. Spread the caramelised onion and cherries evenly over the duck and make to scrape off all the juices from the pan. Top with cherry tomatoes, mint leaves and sliced Brazil nuts.
Warm duck salad with balsamic cherries and mint
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Recipe Notes & Tips

If you can’t find duck breast, or it’s too expensive, feel free to use chicken breasts and keep the skin on. You will need to adjust the cooking time for the chicken because unlike duck, it should be cooked through well. Cook the chicken breasts a little longer flesh side down, maybe 7-8 minutes instead of 3-4 minutes stated in the recipe.

Brazil nuts can be replaced with almonds or pumpkin seeds, I really like them for both the crunch and the nutrients (Brazil nuts are very high in selenium, a potent antioxidant).

Basil will work instead of mint. AIP guys, you will need to replace those tomatoes with something else like cucumber or carrot. See below for step by step photos.

Warm Duck salad With cherries
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Warm Duck salad With cherries
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Warm Duck Salad With Balsamic Cherries

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Author: Irena Macri
Servings: 2 servings
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Healthy
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5 from 2 votes
Calories: 687kcal
Warm duck salad with balsamic cherries is a delicious and filling meal. The sweet and tangy balsamic cherries, combined with the fresh cherry tomatoes and crisp red onions, make for a flavour explosion in every bite. Topped with crunchy Brazil nuts and fragrant mint, this duck recipe is the perfect balance of sweet, savoury, and crunchy.

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium duck breasts with skin on
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • A large handful of cherries about 15 cherries
  • 1 medium red onion halved and sliced thinly
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
  • 5 Brazil nuts chopped
  • 2-3 cups salad leaves loose, washed
  • 12 fresh mint leaves

For the dressing

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • A generous pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon or yellow mustard

Instructions

  • Wash and pat dry the duck breasts and bring to room temperature, leave out of the fridge for about 15 minutes. Season with sea salt on each side.
  • Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add the coconut oil. While the pan is still heating, place the duck breasts, skin side down, to start rendering off the fat. To render some of the fat off and get that lovely crispy skin, you need to cook the duck skin side down over medium heat, not too hot to not burn the skin and let the fat melt off slowly. Cook skin side down for 15 minutes. The duck fat will release into the frying pan and we will cook the onions and cherries in it.
  • Prepare the cherries while the duck is cooking. Remove the tails and place the cherries on a cutting board. Press down gently with a knife until the cherry pops in half and the pit can be easily removed. Set the cherries aside.
  • Slice the onions and tomatoes.
  • Add the sliced onion to the pan after about 10 minutes of duck cooking and arrange the slices around the breasts. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and cook in duck fat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring halfway. Then add the prepared cherries (reserve a few as fresh ones for garnish). Stir through with the onion.
  • By this stage our duck breasts will be ready to turn over. Cook on the flesh side for 3-4 minutes, and don’t forget to stir the cherries and onions on the side.
  • Then move the duck breasts to the side of the pan and turn them on their sides. Drizzle the onion and cherries with balsamic vinegar and stir through for a minute, until lightly caramelised.
  • Remove the duck breasts on a cutting board and rest for 2-3 minutes. The flesh should be juicy, tender and slightly pink inside.
  • Arrange the salad on a large platter. Mix the salad dressing and drizzle over the salad leaves. Slice the duck breasts and place on the top. Spread the caramelised onion and cherries evenly over the duck and make to scrape off all the juices from the pan. Top with cherry tomatoes, mint leaves and Brazil nuts.

Notes

Brazil nuts are very nutritious but are also quite caloric; you can replace them with almonds or hazelnuts instead. Duck skin can also be removed if you are calorie-conscious.

Nutrition

Calories: 687kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 174mg | Sodium: 800mg | Potassium: 1518mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 18334IU | Vitamin C: 67mg | Calcium: 152mg | Iron: 14mg
Keywords: salad recipes, Duck Recipes, Duck Breast, Cherries
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Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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Comments

7 Comments
  1. 5 stars
    This was *incredible* and so flipping easy! As cherries were out of season, I had to get frozen, but that gave me the added bonus of having the juice after they defrosted, which I used along with the balsamic over the onions and cherries in the pan. I could also have used it in the dressing, I suppose, or if I were feeling particularly lazy just mix some balsamic and the cherry juice to dress the greens (although this dressing is so simple, I can’t imagine being too lazy to whip it up!). My non-paleo husband said he’d pay $30 for this in a restaurant (he’s a huge duck fan, and does not mince words when one of my paleo meals is too weird for him, so I celebrate every home run!). This is going into our regular rotation for sure. Thank you!

    1. So happy you liked this recipe! Great idea to use frozen cherries and incorporate the juice into the sauce 🙂 Thanks for your kind feedback!!!

  2. I made this for dinner tonight. It was fabulous! I was looking for a simple, yet elegant, recipe to use the duck breasts from the 2 ducks we butchered last year. Many duck recipes are time consuming, although I’m sure very tasty. I didn’t have fresh cherries so I used dried cherries soaked in water and substituted slivered almonds for Brazils and dried mint because I was too lazy to run out to the garden. I will be making this again – real soon. 🙂

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