Friday, September 7

Duck, Clementine and Spinach Salad

One of the most memorable traditions of my childhood is my parents taking me out to a "fancy dinner" (it was my choice and could range anywhere from The Olive Garden to Black Angus;) on my birthday each year. I could order anything I wanted and, more often than not, it was a steak. This is something I couldn't get at home and the bright red, delicious slab of cow filled me with wonderment.

Through my teens and early 20s I experimented with vegetarianism but ultimately went back to eating the way I had been raised - mostly lean white meat with red meat on rare (pun intended) occasion. I admit, there is a difference between the taste of a ground beef burger versus turkey burger or carne asada taco versus chicken taco. Hmmmm. . . could the amount of saturated fat have something to do with it?

As discussed here previously saturated fat is one of the "bad" types of fat (transfat being the other) and increases our "bad" cholesterol levels and chance of heart disease. Lean beef (strip steak, tenderloin, T-bone) boasts a whopping 4 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz serving. Meanwhile, the same size serving of chicken contains less than a gram (0.5g) of saturated fat. Clearly the healthier choice, correct?

Enter duck meat. Although no where near the low fat content of chicken, duck (without the skin) contains less saturated fat than beef at 3.4g. In addition, duck contains very high levels of a monounsaturated fat (one of the "good" types of fat) called oleic acid. This is the same type of fat that olive oil contains in abundance and that many studies have shown to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases of aging.*

I found this salad recipe to be a great way to sample duck meat. And combined with the spinach, green beans and olive oil it makes for a very healthy meal.


Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)
3 duck breasts (each about 8 oz)
10 oz green beans, trimmed
3 clementines, peeled and segmented
4 cups of spinach

Dressing: Juice of two clementines, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim the skin from duck breasts, place in a skillet and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side until browned. Transfer the duck to a baking dish and place in the oven for 5 minutes until cooked through. Remove from oven, cover with foil and set aside.
Blanch the green beans in lightly salted boiling water for 2 minutes until cooked but still firm and bright green. Drain and refresh in cold water. Transfer the beans to a large salad bowl with the clementine segments.
Make the dressing by beating together the clementine juice, vinegar and oil in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the spinach to the beans and clementines, drizzle the dressing over it and combine well. Slice the duck meat, combine it with the salad and serve immediately.

*Despite these benefits, meat containing this level of saturated fat should be consumed sparingly (once or twice per week.) 


  1. Have you tried buffalo? Same saturated fat as chicken! And I think the burgers are WAY better than beef.

  2. I haven't but it's right next to the duck (and ostrich meat) at Gelson's so I'm bound to try it at some point!