Thursday, July 25, 2013

Private and Confit-dential: Mixed Greens with Crispy Duck Leg Confit, Blue Cheese, Pecans and Cranberries in a Balsamic Vinaigrette

When you decide to follow your dream, expect to be surprised. Because no matter how much thought you put into making your decision and how much you prepare beforehand, there will still be many surprises. The good news, though, is that the vast majority of them will be the good kind.

Not all of them, mind you. You will occasionally be surprised by some not-so-great stuff and some not-so-great people, like say, idiots on motorcycles who come at you out of nowhere and puncture your car tire like it was a piƱata. Grrr.

But I promise, you will be surprised by nearly all the people in your universe. Hell, you'll be surprised by your very universe. You will be amazed, touched and humbled by all the support and encouragement you receive from the people you who love you. You may think you expected it but trust me, it'll be Niagara Falls big and just as amazing.

The even bigger surprise, though, will be the people you just kinda like and thought, yeah, okay, I guess they kinda like me back. Because the kindness, generosity and support you will get from these people will knock your socks off. You will sit down (still sockless!) and realize how incredibly lucky you are to have these truly wonderful people in your life.

And they'll appear at precisely the right moments--cheerleaders with their pompoms and fairy godmothers with their magic wands--just when your own confidence and resolve start to waver.

Sure, there will also be folks who surprise you in not-so-good ways. Some will make thoughtless, uninformed or downright catty comments. Others will deafen you with their conspicuous silence. Some "friends" will even surprise with the things they say ABOUT you to other people.

But the most surprising thing of all, in fact, the BEST surprise of all, is how little this will matter. Because when you pursue your passion, you will be so amazed at how much you love your life and how tirelessly the universe and all your heretofore unseen cheerleaders, guardian angels and fairy godmothers (and godfathers!) are conspiring to make your dreams come true. So much so that everything else will just seem like white noise.

It'll be a roller-coaster ride, my friend, so buckle up. Enjoy every single twist, turn, free-fall and loop-de-loop. And when you catch your breath, don't forget to let your peeps and the very universe know how much you appreciate them.

Make them and yourself this great salad, for starters. Because considering they only come two precious legs to a bottle (or can), sharing a deliciously crispy duck confit with someone is a great way to let them know just how special they are.

Finally, whenever you get a chance, be someone else's cheerleader, guardian angel or fairy godmother. Paying it forward is a surefire way to to keep the universe on your side.

This salad serves two confit-worthy people as a light main course or a heavy starter. The best duck confit comes in glass jars, but I haven't been able to find them here in Manila, so I bought the canned kind. If you do happen to find them, buy or lug home as many as you can or better yet, send them my way!

My basic vinaigrette is three parts oil to one part acid. I also like to add a little bit of honey and this time, I used a little more than usual because the sweetness really works with the duck. I also usually add some salt and pepper to my vinaigrette, but the canned confit is generally saltier, so I didn't need it this time.

Basically, I wrote measurements below to use as a guideline, but this really is all about how you like it, so tweak accordingly.

Make sure you serve the salad immediately after dressing so that the skin stays nice and crisp. And finally, once you finish off your duck legs, make sure you hold on to all that delicious duck fat. It's great for frying up potatoes, eggs, and pretty much everything else you can think of frying.

Mixed Greens with Crispy Duck Leg Confit, Blue Cheese and Cranberries in a Balsamic Vinaigrette

Salad greens of your choice, preferably organic, 200 grams
1 duck leg confit
Balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons
Extra virgin olive oil, 6 tablespoons
Honey, 1 tablespoon or to taste
Blue cheese, 50 grams (I used Gorgonzola)
Pecans, toasted, 1/4 cup
Dried cranberries, 1/4 cup

1. Preheat oven to 200C or 400F.

2. Wash and dry your salad greens. Strew with blue cheese bits, pecans and cranberries and set aside.

3. Carefully take out one duck leg from the can (they fall apart pretty easily) and place skin side up in an oven-proof dish. Place dish in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until skin is brown and crisp.

4. Remove duck from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

5. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil and honey until emulsified. Adjust to taste.

6. Chop duck into bite-sized pieces and scatter over the salad.

7. Toss the salad, adding just enough dressing to coat all the leaves thinly. Serve immediately.


  1. I have a few legs of duck confit sitting in the fridge. I will definitely try this receipt:) -Alicia

  2. Sooo easy, Alicia and (almost!) guilt-free because hey, it's a salad. ;) Pears work well, too, and mangoes!

  3. This looks amazing! Very delicious!