Kale and Broccoli Salad with Dried Cherries, Walnuts and Maple Vinaigrette (Superfood Side)

broccoli kale salad Chick-fil-a copycat

There aren’t many healthy options for lunch near where I work. There is a Publix grocery and fast food. The only fast food I eat is Chick-fil-a and fortunately, we got one nearby a few years back. As fast food goes, it’s not terrible for you and they have decent salad options. One day I decided to get a cup of chicken noddle soup and the newer “Superfood” side. The soup was a little salty but the salad was fantastic. I decided to recreate it at home.

It just so happened that our CSA provided arugula, dyno kale and broccoli the last several weeks, so this was a no brainer. I would start with less vinaigrette and add more if need be. The salad is well balanced and will last as leftovers for a few days. The super crunchy broccoli and hearty kale give nice bite. The arugula adds a little bitter and peppery kick. The earthy walnuts and sweet and sour cherries along with the acid and sweet from the vinaigrette all work very well together.

I’ve now made this salad many times. For my wife and I, for guests and for large community functions. Quantities of all ingredients depend on how much you would like to make. The vinaigrette measurements is a complete guess, I just don’t measure these, sorry. You can adjust to your tastes.

Ingredients
Measurements are approximate.

  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup dried sour cherries
  • Red onion, thinly sliced (just add what you like or leave it out)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Dyno kale, destemmed and cut in strips
  • Arugula

Directions

  1. First make the vinaigrette. In a mixing bowl, add the mustard, salt, pepper, vinegar and maple syrup and whisk together. Continue whisking and drizzle in the olive oil. Add the cherries and onion and toss. This will allow the cherries to reconstitute and lessen the punch of the onion.
  2. Right before serving, add the sliced broccoli (and all the little bits), kale and arugula in a large bowl. Add in the vinaigrette with the cherries and onions. Toss to coat the greens. Add walnuts and toss again.
  3. Enjoy.
Kale and Broccoli Salad with Dried Cherries, Walnuts and Maple Vinaigrette (Superfood Side)

Roasted duck, caramelized sweet potatoes, watercress, green apple “kimchi” with a bourbon-maple gastrique

Roasted duck, caramelized sweet potatoes, watercress, green apple "kimchi" with a bourbon maple gastrique

This. Was. Amazing. One of the best things I’ve made in awhile.

I’ve talked about Dudley’s on Short in Lexington, KY. I actually had a VERY similar meal there which I blogged recently (Roasted Duck Breast and Dudley’s on Short). My comment was that it might have been a little sweet for my taste. I also want a little heat in things I make.

My wife doesn’t like duck (or rabbit or beef tongue…). So I either eat it at a restaurant or make it while she is out of town. This weekend she was away on business, so I decided to recreate the Dudley’s meal I had.

I basically made the same meal but here are my tweaks. I did NOT peel the sweet potatoes and it worked out great. The peels got a little crunchy which added something missing from the Dudley’s version. I added more watercress because I like it. Instead of pickled apples, I made a quick faux kimchi out of green apples. The kimchi could not have worked out better. It added more sour and a bit of heat, also something missing from the Dudley’s dish. Finally, because I love bourbon, I made the gastrique my own.

Again, this meal was awesome. The rich duck, the not too sweet caramelized sweet potatoes, the watercress that adds earthiness and slightly wilts under the duck and potato, the crunch and bite of the apple and the sweet and sour punch of the bourbon gastrique. Amazing.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 duck breasts
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 bunch of watercress
  • 1 large green apple, sliced in thin strips
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Bourbon whiskey
  • Brown sugar
  • Butter / olive oil
  • Maple syrup
  • Lemon juice
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
DIRECTIONS

  1. In a seal-able bowl or Tupperware, add the sliced apple, 1/3 apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper to taste (should be spicy). Cover with a little water, seal and shake until combined. Place in your refrigerator and occasionally shake to mix. The longer this sits, the better it will be so you can do this the day before.
  2. The measurements are approximate but here is my best guess (sorry). In a small sauce pot, add 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1/3 cup bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, pinch of salt and whisk together. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Allow to reduce until you have a desired consistency, 20-30 minutes.
  3. Set oven to 350 F.
  4. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the potato in the oven. Bake 45 minutes to an hour until tender. Remove and let them cool slightly. Slice ¼ to ½ inch slices.
  5. Butter a backing dish, add the potato slices in a single layer, top with olive oil, a sprinkle of brown sugar and a small dollop of butter. Bake about 10 minutes then flip on the broiler for another 5-10 until sugar is melted and caramelized. Keep warm.
  6. Score the fatty side of the duck breast with cross hatches. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  7. Heat a medium oven proof pan over medium heat. Even before the pan is up to temperature, place the duck breast in the pan fatty side down. Allow the fat to render slowly. Once the fat has rendered and that side is golden brown, reserve all but a couple of tablespoons of the fat and flip the duck. Continue cooking until browned. Check the temperature, I prefer rare (about 130 F) but the USDA recommends 170 F. If the temperature you want is not achieved, add the whole pan to the oven and continue cooking. Allow the duck to cool and slice.
  8. To plate, add a layer of the sweet potatoes on the bottom, top with the watercress, top that will the duck and green apple kimchi. Finally, drizzle the gastrique over everything.
  9. Enjoy!
Roasted duck, caramelized sweet potatoes, watercress, green apple “kimchi” with a bourbon-maple gastrique