Where else? 
Duck Salad with Sun-dried Cheries, Apple & Goat Cheese
 by Chef Charles Wiley


Chef Charles Wiley's list of accolades include Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chef, cooking at the James Beard House several times (once with compliments from Julia Child), Chef Honoree at the Scottsdale (Arizona) Hall of Fame, and appearances on national TV and international media. He has taped cooking demonstrations for Phoenix, Arizona's local television show, Your Life A to Z, for the last 7 years. This show runs 10 to 11 AM twice a month.

It all started with a bottle of Nielsen-Massey Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract (actual name). We asked Chef Wiley to create a recipe using it. The farm-to-forker uses NM vanilla in his kitchen at Cafe ZuZu (Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale, AZ).

Wiley prepared Fuyu Persimmon Shortbread Tart (last month's TEST KITCHEN) and Duck Salad with Sun-dried Cherries, Apple & Goat Cheese (below). These two dishes are an example of what Wiley would serve at his monthly Chef's Table, which features four different dishes. He explains how the concept came about:

The Chef’s Table, in normal vocabulary, is
inside the kitchen. Since ZuZu's kitchen bleeds
into the dining room, we thought,
What the
heck? We started with a theme, specific ingredients like tomatoes, and started adding wines and other spirits.

This month's Chef's Table features
Napa Cellars



  STEP #1:
   The Duck

   Score the skin on the duck
   breast, cutting down to
   the meat.

   Season it with salt and

       Then place the duck
   breast in a frying pan,
   skin side down and cook
   for about 15 minutes.
   This allows the fat to
   render out.


  Turn, and continue cooking
  to medium rare.

  STEP #2: The Vinaigrette

a shallot


cider & vinegar

the EVOO

it all together

 STEP #3:  The Texture


Slice the marcona almonds coarsely. We're looking for texture. We like to fool around with creating textures. I want our diners to bite into a little piece of Marcona and feel that burst. Japanese chefs are masters at texture.



STEP #4:  The Assembly


       Take a mixture of arugula and
     bib lettuce . . .


       . . . a little apple on the man-
     doline, and mix in a little salt
    for crunch . . .


       . . . drizzle the dressing along the
     outside of the greens on the bowl
     so it doesn’t land on the greens, and
     barely mix the salad by hand.

Add crumbled
Laura Chenel Goat Cheese


Slice duck breast into 8
pieces and place two
on each salad.


Place almonds & cherries around duck & drizzle with
a bit more vinaigrette.


4 Servings

2 each               Duck breasts, skin scored slightly
                         Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon     Olive oil
1 head               Bibb lettuce
2 cups               Arugula
1 each               Apple, sliced
1 recipe            Sherry Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1/2 cup             Sun-dried cherries
1/4 cup             Marcona almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 pound          Goat cheese (Chef Wiley prefers Laura Chenel)

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Season the duck with salt and pepper on both sides, add the olive oil to the pan and lay the duck in the pan, skin side down. Lower the heat and cook slowly on the one side only until fat has melted and skin is crispy, about 15 minutes. Turn the duck and cook briefly on the other side. Breast should be medium rare. Remove from pan and set aside.

Toss the bib lettuce, arugula and apple with some of the vinaigrette, adding a pinch of kosher salt. Transfer to a serving bowl. Slice the duck against the grain and arrange on top of the lettuce. Arrange the cherries and almonds around the duck. Top with the crumbled goat cheese and drizzle with a bit more vinaigrette.


Makes about 1/2 cup

1 each                    Shallot, chopped
2 Tablespoons        Sherry vinegar
2 Tablespoons        Apple cider
1/4 cup                   Olive oil
To taste                 Kosher salt &
                                freshly ground
                                black pepper

Combine shallot, sherry vinegar and apple cider in a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Ben Hershberger
Master Baker
New York, New York

John Hall
Chef, Trattoria Bianco 
Phoenix, Arizona

Greg Murphy
Executive Chef 
Bouchon, Santa Barbara

Daniel Mangione
Pastry Chef 
Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain
Tucson, Arizona

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