warm & cold autumn salad with preserved duck gizzards & fried potatoeswarm & cold autumn salad with preserved duck gizzards & fried potatoeswarm & cold autumn salad with preserved duck gizzards & fried potatoeswarm & cold autumn salad with preserved duck gizzards & fried potatoes

Every season needs its SALAD, according to what’s available and how hot or cold it is out there. It’s autumn so it’ll be some colder and fresher ingredients combined with some warmer, fried or boiled or toasted ingredients on top; and even though my modest version of such a well-known dish, from the southwest of France, is always called a "salad", it’s actually a full meal with its vegetables, meats, starches and its bread slices too …

What’s a GIZZARD ? It’s actually a stomach muscle found in birds, some reptiles, fish and crustaceans (and formerly in dinosaurs) to help them grind the food, with small stones and gravel that they swallowed, because they didn’t really chew their food. Its preparation requires some cleaning and the French way is to cook them slowly in duck fat until they’re preserved. Then they’re either vacuum-packed in bags or canned, with the fat, that you use to cook with and the congealed gelatin that you discard. 

Now you understand (if you didn’t initially).

In the southwest of France, in the Gascony region, there are very popular salads that are enjoyed throughout the whole country, called a “Salade Landaise” and a “Salade Perigourdine”, depending on the number of ingredients used, sometimes using more meats such as cooked chicken breasts or cured duck breasts, foie gras, cured ham and other vegetable like green beans and asparagus. 

This is a toned down and simpler version which is just as tasty and easy to prepare and assemble and one uses the same oils and fats to cook and to flavor the gizzards, then the potatoes and finally the bread croutons. The rest of the colder ingredients are just prepared ahead and set aside while the cooking of the hotter ingredients is going on. 

When ready, it’s all assembled, keeping the warmer ingredients and the colder ingredients separate, until they meet to become this hot & cold or warm & cool salad.

By the way, it’s been so unnaturally rainy and cold, with hail and a few snowflakes this week that I actually feel like decorating for the Christmas holidays right this minute (but I’ll try to wait 2-3 more weeks) . . . :)

warm & cold autumn salad with preserved duck gizzards & fried potatoes




duck (or poultry) gizzards :

  • 300 grams (2 ½ cups) preserved duck or chicken gizzards (2 cups or 250 grams after cooking)
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) olive oil (or more duck fat)
  • 10 grams (2 tsp) garlic, crushed
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) fine sea salt
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) ground black pepper
  • 0,25 gram (½ tsp) thyme, dried
  • 0,25 gram (½ tsp) oregano, dried

potatoes :

  • 250 grams (2 cups or 8 small) baby potatoes, sliced in halves or quarters
  • 750 ml (3 cups) water
  • 7,5 ml (½ tbsp) white vinegar
  • 7,5 grams (½ tbsp) coarse sea salt
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) remaining duck fat & olive oil (after frying the gizzards)

croutons :

  • 75 grams (2 cups) ½ baguette, day-old or semi-dried bread, thinly sliced in 16 slices
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) remaining fat & olive oil (after frying the duck gizzards & potatoes)

vegetables :

  • 250 grams (6-7 cups) baby lettuce, shredded or finely sliced
  • 125 grams (1 cup) cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 70 grams (½ cup) small or green onions, thinly sliced in rounds
  • 5 grams (2 tbsp) flat-leaf parsley, fresh
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) white wine vinegar, separated in ½ tsp + ½ tsp
  • 2 grams (½ tsp) fine sea salt, separated in ¼ tsp + ¼ tsp

extra toppings :

  • 60 grams (1 large) egg, boiled, peeled and sliced in half
  • 30 grams (¼ cup) cheese (cumin seed gouda, blue cheese, etc.), crumbled

salad dressing :

  • 45 grams (3 tbsp) olive oil
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) white wine (or red wine) vinegar
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice
  • 10 grams (1 tbsp) old-fashioned grainy mustard
  • 5 grams (1 tsp) crushed garlic
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) fine sea salt
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) ground black pepper


  • prepare the cold ingredients first, chop up or shred the baby lettuce and set aside, slice the tomatoes in half and sprinkle with some salt and white vinegar and set aside and slice the onions thinly, toss with some salt and vinegar too and set aside, add the parsley to the onions and refrigerate everything in separate bowls, prepare the crumbled cheese and set aside in the refrigerator too
  • prepare the dressing and set aside at room temperature
  • for the warm ingredients, begin with the potatoes that you will slice in half and half again if necessary, boil for 15-20 minutes with some vinegar and coarse sea salt, then strain and let cool down slightly
  • fry up the gizzards at medium-high heat for 5 minutes, with their fat (but not the gelatin) in some olive oil (or duck fat) until slightly browned and keep stirring because they will stick, then right at the end add the crushed garlic and dried herbs and salt and pepper, cook for 1 more minute, then remove the gizzards and strain them and reserve the aromatic fats & oils in the frying pan and set aside
  • fry up the boiled potatoes for 5 minutes in the same frying pan until slightly crispy and remove and set aside and finally add the thin slices of baguette that will be the croutons and fry them at medium-high heat in the remaining fats and olive oil for 1 minute on each side until browned
  • place all the warm ingredients in a warm oven (about 75°C) to keep them warm for 10 minutes
  • simmer some water in a small casserole, add the egg and let simmer (not boil) for 6 minutes (the white will be firm and the yolk will be slightly runny), then remove and peel and slice in half right before serving the salad
  • to assemble the salad, toss the shredded lettuce with 2 tbsp of the dressing and divide between 2 plates, then add the sliced tomatoes and onions and parsley around the sides, place the warm gizzards in the middle, add the warm potatoes around the gizzards, place the warm croutons on the edges of the plates, add the sliced boiled egg on top, sprinkle with some crumbled cheese and pour the remaining dressing on top of everything and serve.