Duck Breast Salad with Bacon and Poached Quail Eggs

After presenting my last post on How to Poach Quail Eggs, several people have asked when I was going to post my recipe for Duck Breast Salad with Bacon and Quail Eggs. Well, here it is! Duck breasts and bacon go well together and if you add quail eggs to the salad, things are even more delicious!
Most people boil quail eggs, but as I said in my last post, I believe poached quail eggs are even more tasty because they have that soft unctuous yolk.The main components of this salad are the duck breasts, bacon and quail eggs and you can use whatever salad dressing you like. I have included my video below on how to cook perfect duck breasts so that the meat is pink and tender. Digital editing has been an entirely new experience for me so it took me many hours to put this together. Hopefully, the next video I do will go faster and will turn out better. Let me know what you think!                                                                           

Music credits:  Autumn Day by Kevin MacCleod

Duck Breast Salad with Bacon and Quail Eggs
Serves 2
A duck breast salad adorned with yummy bacon and lovely quail eggs
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 duck breasts
  2. 3 pieces bacon
  3. 8-12 quail eggs
  4. Salad greens to serve two (mixture of lettuce, arugula, spinach, etc)
  5. Several leaves of basil (regular or Thai basil)
  6. 1 carrot, sliced thinly into julienne
  7. 1 tomato, diced
  8. 1 spring onion
  9. 1-2 radishes, sliced thinly
  10. Salad dressing (Ranch or other creamy dressing)
Cook the duck breasts (see video for instructions)
  1. Trim off any excess skin around the rim of the duck breasts. Score the skin-side of the breasts, making cuts 1/4 inch apart. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a skillet to high heat and add a small amount of oil. Place each breast skin-side facing down on the skillet, reduce heat slightly and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the skin turns golden. Flip each breast over and cook the other side for about 3-4 minutes. Remove the breasts from the pan, place on a cutting board and make a small incision on the flesh side of the breast.
  3. Wrap each breast in foil and bake for about 7-8 minutes at 350 F (180 C) until the breast meat turns pink inside. If the meat is still red inside, then continue to bake for another few minutes. Remove from oven and let the breasts rest for about 15 minutes (still wrapped in the foil).
Prepare the quail eggs
  1. Refer to previous post for instructions on how to poach quail eggs. Crack 8-12 quail eggs and combine them altogether in a bowl. Bring a small pan of water to a boil and add 1/4 cup vinegar. Use a whisk to create a 'whirlpool' in the middle of the pan and add the bowl of quail eggs all at once to the pan of swirling water. Cover the pan with a lid, remove from the heat and wait for 2.5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool. Use scissors to trim the eggs into a regular shape, transfer the eggs to another bowl and let soak in a little olive oil and salt/pepper until ready to use the eggs.
To assemble the salad
  1. Slice the cooled duck breasts into thin pieces. Cook the bacon pieces in the microwave or stove top for several minutes and then cut into pieces. In a large bowl, combine the salad greens, duck pieces, bacon, quail eggs, carrots, tomatoes, spring onions and radishes (feel free to add any of your other favorite vegetables to the salad). Dress with your favorite salad dressing (I used Ranch dressing).
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How to Poach Quail Eggs

If you’re like me, maybe you thought that quail eggs were too fiddly to work with. I used to scoff at those tiny quail eggs when shopping at the store, instead heading toward my tried and trusted hen’s eggs.But no more! After learning a salad recipe in Spain that used quail eggs, I have become a real fan! They are great when used in salads and because of their compact size, they can add a real flavorful ‘pop’ to any dish. They also make unique appetizers- combine them with a spread on top of a cracker and you’ll be the talk of the town (maybe)!

But should you boil quail eggs or poach them? Everyone has their own preferences but I prefer to poach them in order to get that soft, slightly runny center in the egg. Also, my technique for poaching quail eggs avoids the hassle of having to peel each egg after you boil them.

Here is an example of using quail eggs in a salad: Duck Breast Salad with Bacon and Quail Eggs:

I’ll be posting this recipe shortly, but in the meantime, here is the technique for poaching quail eggs (it’s really not that hard)!

First, lightly tap the center of each quail egg several times with a small knife until the shell softens or a small hole appears. Then use the tip of a pair of scissors to enlarge the hole (just a little).

Use your thumbs to pull apart each half of the egg then drop all the eggs together into one bowl- crack as many eggs as you wish. One of my eggs broke but that doesn’t matter, you can still use it.

Next, add water and 1/4 cup vinegar together into a small saucepan and bring to a rapid boil. After the water comes to a boil, whisk the center of the pan vigorously in a circular motion until a ‘whirlpool’ forms. Then, add the eggs all at once into the center of the pan, remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid. Wait for 2  to 2.5 minutes and then remove the lid. The eggs will now look like a jumbled mess, but DON’T WORRY!

Next, use a slotted spoon to transfer the ‘egg mass’ to a container with ice/water. This will stop the eggs from cooking and the eggs will now start to firm up into individual shapes.

Now remove one egg at a time using a small spoon and use scissors to trim each egg into a nice oval shape. When you have finished trimming the eggs, place them into a small bowl and cover with olive oil and a splash of vinegar- add salt and pepper. Let the eggs soak until ready to use them in your dish.

In the meantime, stay tuned for my next recipe for Duck Breast Salad with Bacon and Quail Eggs. Thank you for stopping by!

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French Byron Potatoes with Grilled Salmon Steaks

Lately I’ve been posting recipes from all over the world: Spanish, Mexican, Moroccan, etc. I thought it is time to get back to some French cooking, which is my specialty! Thumbing though some recipes I learned at the Paris Cordon Bleu school, I came across a recipe for Byron Potatoes (Pommes de terre Byron). These are mashed or puréed potatoes that are made with butter and cream and topped with cheese, usually Gruyère or Parmesan. How French can that be! They can be presented as individual potato cakes or served in a casserole dish. In any case, they make a perfect side dish, but what better way to serve them than as an accompaniment to Grilled Salmon Steaks with Lemon Butter Sauce! (see below)

The Byron Potatoes recipe that I learned at Le Cordon Bleu was more ‘fancied up’, including piping the pureed potatoes onto a baking sheet, however you can skip the piping and just shape the potato cakes with your hands.

So, here is the process for making the delicious French Byron Potatoes:

First, the potatoes are boiled and then passed through a food mill to make them nice and fluffy:

Byron (6 of 6) (1 of 1)

Butter and two egg yolks are then worked into the warm potatoes, then piped into small circles on a baking sheet. A well is made into the center of each potato cake using the back of a spoon, then a creamy white sauce is spooned into the center. Finally, grated cheese is added on top and the cakes are then baked to a golden brown.

Bake the Byron Potatoes until golden and top with some chopped chives:

Byron (4 of 4) (1 of 1)

I served my Byron Potatoes with Grilled Salmon Steaks with Lemon Butter Sauce, but they can be served with just about any type of food: fish, lamb, salads, the sky is the limit!

What are Salmon Steaks (salmon cutlets)?

Salmon steaks are derived by cutting the salmon cross-wise across the bone rather than lengthwise. By including the bone in the cooking of the fish, you get a slightly more juicy flavor and the salmon steak certainly has an interesting shape. You can remove the center bone of the fish prior to serving which makes it easier to eat. However, you could also use thick salmon slices (fillets) rather than the steaks, if desired.

In any case, bon appétit!  (Also, I’d love it if you would subscribe to my blog or ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page)!

Byron

French Byron Potatoes with Grilled Salmon Steaks
Serves 4
Succulent Salmon Steaks surrounded by creamy French potatoes
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
Byron Potatoes
  1. 500 g large potatoes
  2. 50 g butter
  3. 2 egg yolks
  4. Salt
For the White Sauce
  1. 15 g butter
  2. 15 g flour
  3. 50 ml cream
  4. 150 ml milk
  5. Salt/white pepper
  6. Nutmeg
  7. 50 g Gruyère or Parmesan cheese
  8. Chives chopped
Salmon Steaks
  1. 4 salmon steaks (cutlets) or thick salmon slices
  2. Olive or vegetable oil for grilling
  3. Salt/pepper
For the Lemon Butter Sauce
  1. 30 ml water
  2. Juice of ½ lemon
  3. salt and pinch cayenne pepper
  4. 100 g butter, cut into cold cubes
  5. Chopped chives
For the Byron Potatoes
  1. First make the White Sauce; melt the 15 g butter in a small saucepan, then stir in the flour to make a thick paste. Gradually stir in the cream and milk over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Add the salt, white pepper and nutmeg to taste.
  2. Peel and cut the potatoes into rough chunks. Add the potatoes to cold water and bring to the boil; add salt to water after water comes to a boil; cook until the potatoes are cooked through. Strain water until potatoes are dry. Press the potatoes through a food mill then work the butter through the warm potatoes using a rubber spatula. Now add the two egg yolks and continue to mix with the spatula. Season with salt and white pepper.
  3. Place the potato mixture into a pastry bag using a nozzle with a round opening and pipe the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking tray; pipe into concentric circles about 3 inches wide. Dip a metal spoon into warm water and use the back of the spoon to make a small well into the middle of each potato circle. Fill each well with a spoon-full of the white sauce and then top with a little grated cheese. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes turn golden. Garnish with a little chopped chives.
For the Grilled Salmon Steaks
  1. Brush both sides of each Salmon steak with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan or Barbeque grill until medium hot and brush with oil. Lay each steak diagonally across the grill to create a diagonal pattern for presentation. Cook each side for 3-4 minutes then brush each steak with a little of the lemon butter sauce, wrap in foil and bake in the oven for a further 4-5 minutes until the fish is cooked through. The fish will be done when the flesh has turned a light pink inside.
For the Lemon Butter Sauce
  1. Combine the water and lemon juice in a small saucepan; heat for several minutes until the mixture reduces a little. Gradually add the cold butter cubes; whisk over medium-low heat until the mixture gradually thickens. Be careful not to add too much heat or the butter may split. Continue adding the butter until the mixture thickens then add the salt, cayenne pepper and chopped chives.
  2. To plate, remove the center bone from each piece of salmon. Place the salmon steak on top of a bed of cooked spinach, spoon some of the lemon butter sauce around the side of the salmon and add a few pieces of the Byron potatoes on the side.
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