This Spicy Thai Duck salad is one of our go-to date night at home dishes. To say I'm obsessed with it is a bit of an understatement. I adore, crave it, and need to have it regularly. If Jason wasn't the sweetest hubby on earth, he'd probably tell me to stop talking about it all the time. Thai flavors in general are my most-craved flavors, but this salad is at the top of the list. The buttery, savory duck is perfectly complemented by all of the sharp, sour, spicy, sweet flavors of the dressing and veggies.
If you have frequented many Thai restaurants (like we have) you may have had the popular Thai Spicy Beef Salad that's on almost every Thai menu I've seen. It's one of our favorites and we order it every time we go out for Thai. One time we ordered it Thai spicy and I couldn't feel my lips for the rest of the meal. Like, my ears were burning. Normally, it's just the right amount of spicy and we love it. We also usually get a duck dish. Either a curry or a crispy duck with basil (my mouth is watering as I type this). We always order a variety so we can share. Sigh. The best.
What you need for this Spicy Thai Duck Salad
This has become one of our go-to date night at home dishes. It just hits all the right notes and it seems like such a special, restaurant-quality dish.
- two duck breasts
- 1 head of leafy lettuce such as red or green leaf - romaine or butter lettuce would be nice too
- english cucumber
- red onion
- fresh mint, basil, green onions, cilantro
- hot chile peppers
- fresh limes
- rice or mung bean noodles (optional)
what you need for the dressing
- fish sauce
- soy sauce
- lime juice
- tablespoon of sugar, honey, or sweetener of your choice (optional)
- ground white pepper
- grated ginger and garlic
- toasted rice powder (optional but very authentic)
Click here to read more about Thai Toasted Rice Powder from Serious Eats.
Scoring duck breasts
You want to score the fat of your duck breasts, which just means taking a very sharp knife and gliding it over the fat to make a criss-cross pattern. So you will slice at an angle making long slashes about ¼ inch apart in one direction, then rotate the breast and perform the same slices so that you end up with a diamond or criss cross pattern. Be careful to just slice through the fat, not into the duck breast itself.
Start duck breasts in a cold pan
Then you will place them fat side down in a cold pan. You'll turn the pan to medium-low and cook almost the entire way - about 10 minutes - before flipping and finishing on the meaty side very briefly. This allows the glorious duck fat to render, leaving a thin layer of lightly crisped fat on top of the succulent meat. Bonus: you get to keep the rendered fat for cooking (may I suggest cooking potatoes in it? Nothing better!)Print