Japanese Curry Duck Breast + Baby Arugula Salad With Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette & Parmigiano Reggiano


Whenever I’m putting together a dish, I’m usually led by whatever protein I decide to work with, and everything flows from there. However, on this particular occasion I was inspired by a particular ingredient, Japanese curry. On a recent trip to Napa, a close friend of mine visited Whole Spice at the Oxbow Public Market, and surprised me with a treasure trove of spices and specialty salts! Harissa, zahtar, vadouvan, zhug, Herbes de’ Provence, Alderwood smoked sea salt… what can I say, I have great friends. As a West Indian I’m always partial to anything curry, so naturally I decided to experiment with that one first. There were subtle differences between West Indian and Japanese curries that I was able to discern right away. While West Indian curry is quite pungent, the Japanese blend is more delicate, yet still aromatic with nice citrus notes.  I figured it would go nicely with duck, paired with a light salad with a bit of acid to balance off the richness of the dish.  


2 boneless skin-on duck breast

½ pound of baby arugula (washed)

1 tbsp. of unsalted butter

1” piece of ginger

4 garlic cloves (finely chopped)

1 medium lemon

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Parmigiano Reggiano (finely chopped)

Japanese curry powder

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

The How To…

Duck Breasts

Drizzle duck with olive oil and season with curry powder (1 tsp.), garlic (½ tsp.), ginger (¼ tsp.), salt, and pepper. Add butter and place duck skin side down in a cast iron skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Cook, without flipping, until fat is rendered and skin is crisp, 6–7 minutes.

Flip duck; reduce to medium and cook until browned and to desired doneness, about 4-5 minutes for medium rare or until an instant-read thermometer Inserted into the thickest part of the duck reads 130°.

Transfer duck to a cutting board; let rest 10 minutes before thinly slicing on an angle.


In a large salad or mixing bowl, combine arugula, Parmigiano Reggiano (¼ cup), and the zest of an entire medium lemon.

In a separate bowl, whisk olive oil (¼ cup), balsamic vinegar (2 tbsp.), juice from ½ the lemon, and minced garlic (1 tsp.), until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When ready to serve, pour dressing over salad, toss and serve.