Seared Duck Breast

November 8, 2009

Mmmmm, duck breast.

We’re entertaining some friends for dinner in a few weeks and I’m trying out some new recipes now to find the perfect dinner to serve. This duck breast comes very close. The nice thing about duck is that it, basically, takes care of it self. The flavor of the meat, even the breast, is so delicious that it needs little more than salt and pepper.

In the photo below, the duck is sitting on a potato leek puree. It didn’t work out quite like I had planned and was more like a soup than a puree, but still delicious. Homemade sweet potato and red potato chips garnished the plate.

Seared Duck Breast

2 duck breasts
Salt and pepper

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350°
  • With a sharp paring knife, score the skin on the duck breasts, creating a diagonal cross-hatch. Just cut the skin, not the flesh of the breast.
  • Season the breasts well with salt and pepper. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.
  • Heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a oven-proof skillet over medium high heat.
  • When the oil is very hot (look for ripples in the oil and it should be mildly fragrant as well) place the duck breasts skin-side down and sear for three to four minutes or until well browned.
  • Turn the duck breasts over and sear the other side for two minutes.
  • Place in the oven and roast until medium-rare,  between 8 and 10 minutes.
  • Take the duck breasts out of the oven and transfer them to a plate to rest for five minutes.
  • Serve.

While I didn’t do it myself, here’s a chance to introduce a quick pan sauce that could make a wonderful touch. Given that these breasts weren’t seasoned with anything but salt and pepper, your possibilities are endless, but here’s the technique:

While the duck breasts are resting, place the skillet back over medium heat with a teaspoon of oil. Add shallots or garlic or herbs or spices. After a minute or two add a deglazing liquid of your choice. Great options include: wine (red or white), chicken stock, orange juice, soy sauce and honey, or even water. Bring to a simmer and then add cornstarch (first make a slurry of 1/8 t. cornstarch and 1 T. cold water). The sauce will quickly thicken. Drizzle over the duck breasts.


Seared Duck Breast

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