Duck and Cherry Salad

11:30 am on 10 December 2012

Serves 4 as an entrée or two as a main course.


  • 2 duck breasts, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 head cos lettuce, leaves washed and separated
  • 200g fresh green beans, sliced and blanched
  • 100g walnuts, roasted for 5 minutes
  • 150g cherries, stones removed
  • 3 tbsps chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 orange, juice and zest
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper


To cook the duck, take a very sharp knife and score the skin of each duck breast to make a diamond pattern. Generously season each side with salt and pepper.

Place the duck breasts, skin side down in a heavy based frying pan, and place over a moderate heat. There is no need to oil the pan as the fat will immediately start to run from the duck. Turn the heat to low and allow the duck to cook gently for about 10-12 minutes. Once the skin is crisp and golden turn the duck breasts over and continue to cook on the meaty side for a further 2 minutes. The meat should be nicely rare.

Remove from the pan and keep the duck breasts covered in a warm place to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

To assemble the salad, line a serving platter with the cos lettuce leaves. Arrange the beans, walnuts and cherries randomly over the leaves and top with the sliced duck and basil.

Dress with orange juice and zest and olive oil mixed with salt and pepper to taste.

Wine Match by Stephen Morris

Light reds or rosés

Martinborough Vineyard Rosé 2011 (Martinborough) light chocolate and cherries on the nose. Strawberries and a nice leafiness on the palate. A bit of weight. Just off dry.

Forrest Estate Pinot Noir 2011 (Marlborough) nice cherries on the nose. Simple and clean. Raspberry, strawberry and cherry flavours in the mouth. This is pinot noir for lunch time – and it’s refreshingly priced accordingly.

Peregrine Pinot Noir 2010 (Otago) black cloves and cherries. A more significant match than the other two. This is classic Otago Pinot Noir. A pretty dancing palate and nice silky length.

Honourable mention: Cloudy Bay Pelorus Rosé NV (Marlborough). The best sparkling pink wine I’ve tried from NZ in a long time. A good depth of colour. Chocolate, cherry, nice cocoa. Almost a cherry cola note, but not that sweetly confected. Refreshing.

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