Fall is here – the season for California apples – and elegant Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure park is taking advantage of the bounty with this beautiful Harvest Apple Salad, which also includes the richness of duck confit to match the tart, sweet apples.
Confit (pronounced con-fee) may sound daunting, but it’s basically a French term for slowly roasting the duck while it’s submerged in liquid – in this recipe it’s duck fat and olive oil. This is one of those recipes that takes time, but the reward is a rich, bright salad that’s perfect for a dinner party.
In case you can’t get to the beautiful Carthay Circle Restaurant, inside the detailed re-creation of the iconic Carthay Circle Theatre at Disney California Adventure park, Chef Francisco Origel shows us how it’s done. This seasonal recipe is just one of the many California-inspired dishes on the menu.
Harvest Apple Salad with Crispy Duck Confit
- 4 skin-on, bone-in duck legs
- Coarse salt freshly ground black pepper
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 3 dried bay leaves
- Olive oil for covering duck in roasting pan
- 1/3 cup fresh apple cider
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey mustard or Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 gala apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 6 wedges per apple
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-wide sticks
- 6 cups thinly sliced kale
- 6 cups thinly sliced frisée lettuce
- 10 breakfast radishes, thinly sliced
For duck confit:
- Generously salt and pepper duck legs and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.
Prick skin of duck legs all over with a needle or a small, sharp knife, being careful not to pierce the meat. Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Heat skillet over medium-high heat and sear duck legs until golden on both sides. Place in a baking dish just large enough to fit all 6 legs and cover with rendered duck fat from skillet. Add thyme, bay leaves, and enough olive oil to submerge duck.
- Place in oven, uncovered, and bake 2 hours. Remove from oven and allow to cool in fat to room temperature.
- Remove duck legs from fat; remove meat from bones, discarding bones; pull meat into shreds.
- Place shredded meat in a medium skillet over medium-high heat; cook just until duck is crispy. Set aside.
- Place apple cider and vinegar in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce by half, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
- Combine reduced apple cider-vinegar and mustard in blender; blend until combined. With blender on medium speed, slowly stream in olive oil.
- Removed from blender and place in bowl; stir in thyme and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Smear cold butter in bottom of large skillet. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Add apples slices and turn on heat to medium-high. As butter begins to melt and sugar caramelizes, turn apples to brown both sides. Add more butter if necessary; cook apples until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes, turning often. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Combine kale, frisée, radishes, and gala apple sticks in a large bowl, tossing to combine. Add shredded duck.
- Add just enough dressing to coat, tossing to combine. Serve immediately with caramelized apple slices.