Duck Aiguillettes and Lentil Salad

From Thierry Meret

2012 Nov/Dec

Aiguillettes used to refer to the thin strip of flesh that was left attached to the breast bone after deboning. Nowadays, it refers to thin slices of poultry and game birds.


  • 1 c. green le Puy lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1 whole duck breast, trimmed of excess skin and bones removed
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 t. Dijon mustard
  • 2 t. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c. walnut oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery sticks, strings removed and diced
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 c. Italian parsley, chopped


Place the lentils in a large saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Add the bay leaf and salt and bring to a quick boil. Cook, uncovered, on high heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender to the tooth but still a little firm. You may need to add more water to keep the lentils submerged at all time. Drain the lentils and briefly run cold water over them. Drain thoroughly and spread the lentils on a tray or baking sheet to allow the lentils to finish cooling.

Place a cast-iron pan or heavy saucepan on high heat. Season the duck breast with salt and freshly crushed black pepper. Place the duck breast into the hot pan, skin-side down, to allow the fat to melt and the skin to render to a nice golden brown. Turn the breast over and turn off the heat. Leave the duck breast to finish cooking slowly, off the burner, with just the remaining heat from the pan.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the mustard, wine vinegar, walnut oil and salt and pepper.

Assemble the salad by combining the lentils with the carrots, celery, shallot, red pepper, parsley and the vinaigrette. Adjust seasoning if needed and refrigerate for an hour.

To serve, spoon some lentil salad into serving bowls. Slice the cooled duck breast thinly, aiguillettes-style, and place the slices on the lentil salad. Serve with toasted baguette slices and glasses of Côtes du Rhône. Serves 4.