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IMG_6542Traditional southwestern French flavours at their best – smoked duck breast, crispy lardons, earthy chestnuts, crunchy croutons and toasted walnuts and walnut oil – all with winter greens, arugala and mache, make this salad original and a superb meal. The chestnuts are served warm in this country-style salad from the Périgord. Smoked duck breast is also called magret and you might find it labelled as such in your deli. It is usually sold already sliced very thinly, but if not, be sure to slice it as thin as possible and remove any fat, unless you like the fat, then by all means, leave it on. Traditionally the fat is not removed and with the slices being so thin, the taste is actually very pleasant, buttery but not fatty. This is a great salad to eat in winter when arugula and mache, also known in some parts as lamb’s lettuce, is widely available.

IMG_6536IMG_6537IMG_6538IMG_6539IMG_6540IMG_6541Serves 4

Ingredients:

160 g /  6 oz smoked duck breast, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons french walnut oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, preferably aged (not balsamic)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 slices firm country-style bread, crusts removed, cut into small cubes
1 garlic clove, crushed
200 g / 7 oz lardons, bacon, pancetta or ventéche, cut into thin strips
1 1/2 cups cooked chestnuts, jarred
4 cups aragula and mache lettuces, rinsed and dried
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preparation:

In a small bowl, whisk together the walnut oil, vinegar, salt and pepper
Set the vinaigrette aside
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat
Add the bread cubes and sauté, tossing, until golden, about 2 minutes
Add the garlic and give it an extra toss then remove from pan
In the same skillet, sauté the lardons until almost crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes
Add the chestnuts and more butter if needed
Cook for 1 minute then remove from heat
In a large salad bowl, toss the greens with the vinaigrette
Add the hot chestnuts, lardons, chopped walnuts, croutons and toss gently to mix
Arrange the duck slices on top and serve while chestnuts still warm
Enjoy!

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