Duck Breasts and Orzo Salad with Herb-Infused Olive Oil

"Infusing olive oil is a great way to add more herbs to your life," says Jovial King. In this main-course salad, Marcia Kiesel rubs the oil on duck breasts and shallots before grilling them and also uses it in a vinaigrette.

Duck Breasts and Orzo Salad with Herb-Infused Olive Oil
Photo: © David Malosh
Active Time:
55 mins
Total Time:
3 days


Herb-Infused Olive Oil

  • 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves

  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves

  • 1/4 cup chopped chives

  • 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 large thyme sprigs

  • 2 rosemary sprigs

Duck and Orzo Salad

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons Herb-Infused Olive Oil

  • 2 Pekin duck breasts, skin removed

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 large shallots, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 pound yellow wax beans

  • 1 cup orzo

  • 6 small radishes, thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme


Make the Herb-Infused Oil

  1. In a food processor, combine the parsley, basil, chives, and 1/2 cup of the olive oil and process to a loose paste. Let stand for 1 hour. Pour the oil through a fine sieve into a tall, narrow jar, stopping when you reach the sediment at the bottom. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of olive oil. Submerge the thyme and rosemary sprigs in the oil. Cover and let stand for 3 to 4 weeks in a cool, dark place.

  2. Funnel the oil into a glass bottle, discarding the herb sprigs.

Make the salad

  1. Rub 1 teaspoon of the Herb-Infused Olive Oil on the duck breasts and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, gently toss the shallots with 1 more teaspoon of the herb oil and season with salt and pepper.

  2. In another bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of the Herb-Infused Olive Oil with the vinegar and cayenne. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper. Reserve the remaining oil for another use.

  3. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the beans until just tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a work surface and pat dry. Slice the beans on the diagonal 1 inch thick.

  4. Add the orzo to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain and transfer the orzo to a large bowl. Let cool slightly, stirring a few times. Add all but 1 teaspoon of the vinaigrette to the orzo and season with salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature, tossing occasionally.

  5. Light a grill. Grill the duck breasts over moderately high heat, turning once, until well browned on the outside and medium-rare within, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the duck breasts to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes. Grill the shallots on a perforated grill pan until browned and charred in spots, about 3 minutes per side.

  6. Add the beans, grilled shallots and radishes to the orzo and toss. Transfer to plates. Slice the duck breasts crosswise and arrange next to the orzo. Drizzle the duck with the reserved 1 teaspoon of vinaigrette, sprinkle with the chopped thyme and serve.

Make Ahead

Store the Herb-Infused Olive Oil in a cool, dark place for up to 2 months.


One serving 420 cal, 24 gm fat, 3.6 gm sat fat, 25 gm carb, 1.3 gm fiber, 28 gm protein.

Suggested Pairing

Medium-bodied, cherry-rich Pinot Noir.

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