Susan Spicer’s Duck “PBJ” with Cashew Butter, Pepper Jelly, and Apple-Celery Salad

Susan Spicer is one of my favorite chefs.  Her French Quarter restaurant, Bayona, has special meaning for my husband and me.  We went to dinner there, the night we got engaged.  We have had many wonderful meals there and always try to go whenever we are in New Orleans.  I was so glad when her cookbook, Crescent City Cooking was published and we can now enjoy some of our favorite dishes at home. 

This is a wonderful sandwich! There are various components to prepare but it is worth the effort.


Cashew Butter


1 Cup chopped cashews

½ cup chopped peanuts

3 Tablespoons honey

1 Tablespoon molasses

Kosher Salt

4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) softened butter


Roast the cashews and peanuts for about 7 minutes at 350 degrees; cool completely.  In a food processor, puree the nuts, honey, molasses, and a pinch of salt.  Then add the softened butter and puree.  Add a splash of warm water, if necessary, to thin the mixture to a spreadable, creamy texture.  Keep in mind that cashew butter will be soft while it is warm and will stiffen up as it chills.  It should be at room temperature when spreading it on the sandwiches.


Grilled Red Onions (I omitted these and the sandwich is still great.)


1 large or 2 small red onions, sliced in ¼” thick rings. 

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Salt & Pepper


Toss the onions with olive oil, and a little salt & pepper.  Grill, broil, or roast for about 5 minutes, until wilted.


Apple-Celery Salad


1 Granny Smith apple

2 celery heart ribs

1 shallot, minced

1 Tablespoon olive oil and 1 Tablespoon walnut oil, optional OR 2 Tablespoons olive oil.

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar



Peel, core, and thinly slice the apple.  Slice the celery hearts thinly on the diagonal.  In a medium bowl, toss the apple and celery with the shallot, olive oil, vinegar, and salt to taste.  This salad is best made right before assembling the sandwiches.



The recipe calls for smoked duck that you can mail order from

However, we made this with sautéed duck breast. 

Mary’s is a good brand that can be found at Whole Foods. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Buy boneless duck breast with the skin on. Score the skin side in cross hatch pattern.  Season with kosher salt and pepper. 

In a large oven-proof sauté pan, heat olive oil or canola oil over medium heat. Sauté the duck breasts, skin side down, until the fat has rendered and the skin is dark golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.  Turn the duck breasts skin side up and roast in the oven until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. 


To assemble the sandwiches:

2 teaspoons, softened butter

8 slices multi-grain bread

¾ cup cashew butter, at room temperature

¾ cup hot pepper jelly (My favorite brand is the “Zippy Jalapeño” by Jackie’s Jams, which I’ve found at Whole Foods.)

Apple-Celery Salad

Grilled Red Onions


Spread softened butter on both sides of each slice of bread.  Toast bread to your preference.  Spread 4 slices of bread with cashew butter and the remaining 4 with pepper jelly.  Warm the duck meat (and onions if using) in a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes.  Divide the meat and onions on the 4 sandwiches.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add a layer of Apple-Celery salad.  Close, cut, and enjoy!







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