Tea-Smoked Duck Breast Salad with Mango

IMG_6528Alert the Media! “SMOKING IS GOOD FOR YOU!!” – preparing smoked duck, that is. Smoking duck breasts is easy and the taste is rich and delicious. It’s great in salads and goes well with just about any kind of fruit. Add some mangoes, dried cranberries and fennel and you’ve got yourself a great salad. Yes, Smoked Duck is Good!

 I rarely see Smoked Duck offered in restaurants, so here’s an opportunity to surprise your dinner guests with something a little unusual. Duck is high in protein, niacin, iron and thiamine, although (ahem) a little high on the ‘fat side of things.’

Here is my recipe for Tea-Smoked Duck Breast with Mango- prep time is about 20 minutes and cooking/resting time is about 20 minutes = 40 minutes total.

You’ll need some loose tea leaves for the smoking – I used some Orange Pekoe tea  which has a slight cinnamon flavour – purchased from the T Bar Tea Salon on Gouger Street in Adelaide.


For the tea-smoking mixture

  •  3 – 4 duck breasts
  • 1 cup raw rice (preferably Jasmine)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • peel from one orange
  • 1/2 cup loose black tea leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)

For the Salad Dressing

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, finely minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Salad Base

  • salad mixture (choose a combination of baby spinach leaves, green cos lettuce, beetroot leaf, radicchio, etc )
  • 1 fennel bulb, julienned
  • 1 mango, sliced
  • dried cranberries
  • julienned carrot pieces


  • Prepare the tea-smoking mixture: combine the rice, brown sugar and tea in a bowl. Cut the orange peel into thin, 3 – inch long pieces, being careful not to include the white pith. Add to the dry mixture, along with the cinnamon stick (optional).
  • Trim the fat around the edges of the duck breasts to ‘tidy’ them up. Score the duck skin, making diagonal slices across the skin, being careful not to cut into the duck meat itself.
  • Line a large wok or Dutch oven with a double layer of aluminium foil, leaving at least 3 inches over-hanging the sides. Add the smoking mixture to the wok, spreading it along the bottom to a depth of about 1/4 inch.


  •  Place the wok over high heat; after 2 – 3 minutes you should notice some wisps of smoke begin to appear. Now place a wire rack on the bottom of the wok, which sits at least one inch above the tea-smoking mixture (I used the round base of a steamer basket).
  • Place the duck breasts on the rack, skin side facing up.


  • Loosely fold the aluminium edges back over the duck and place a close-fitting lid on top. Reduce the heat to medium and smoke the duck for 8 minutes. Remove the wok from the heat and let stand for 10 more minutes.


  • Heat a small amount of oil over high heat; with skin-side facing down, sear each duck breast for several minutes until brown and crispy. Reduce heat slightly, turn breast over and repeat on the other side.
  • Remove duck from pan and let cool for several minutes. Slice horizontally into thin pieces – the duck meat should be slightly pink inside. If the meat is grey inside, it is over-cooked and will have a rather tough texture.


  • In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the salad dressing and toss with a mixture of salad greens (baby spinach, radicchio, etc) then add the julienned fennel.
  • To serve the salad on individual plates, place the lettuce/fennel mixture on the bottom. Arrange duck pieces and mangoes on top and garnish with dried cranberries and julienned carrot pieces.