Cooking duck breast is not as complicated as many people think—this recipe breaks down the steps so that you can make this restaurant-level dish with minimum fuss and delicious results.
While duck breast skin has cholesterol, the significant protein content and high levels of selenium and zinc make occasionally consuming duck breast a healthy alternative to the beef, chicken, and pork meat trinity (“Duck Meat and Cholesterol”).
Meat & Marinade:
3 long strips of orange zest
5 sprigs of thyme
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil for the marinade, plus 1 tablespoon for cooking the breasts
1 tablespoon orange juice
1.16 duck breasts, deboned, skin on
1 Pink Lady apple, small diced
2 medium-sized shallots, thinly sliced to form little rings
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped sage
crack of pepper
Marinate the meat:
1. 12-18 hours before cooking, place the duck breasts and the marinade in a plastic bag.
2. Seal the bag and put it in the refrigerator.
Make the sauce:
1. Heat up a sauté pan to medium-high heat.
2. Put 1 teaspoon of olive oil in the pan, swirl it around, and add the diced apple.
3. Every minute of so stir or flip the diced apple to ensure that it evenly browns.
4. After 4-5 minutes, the apple dices should be caramelized.
5. Pull them from the pan and place them on a plate to cool. Sprinkle a little salt on the apple.
6. Heat up a small sauté pan to medium-low heat.
7. Place a teaspoon of olive oil in the pan and swirl it around.
8. Add the sliced shallots to the pan.
9. Occasionally stir the shallots as they brown.
10. Once they turned golden brown, add the chopped sage.
11. Let the sage bloom in the shallots and oil for about 1-2 minutes.
12. Turn the heat off, add a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt.
13. The teaspoon of vinegar will cook off in the pan.
14. Place the apple and shallots in a nonreactive bowl.
15. Add in the other teaspoon of olive oil and vinegar, and stir the mixture. Try to break apart the rings of shallots into quarters as you go: they should give under weight of your stainless steel spoon. Season the mixture to taste. You might need to add a little more salt and a crack of pepper.
Cook the duck breasts:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Pull the breasts from the marinade and wipe off any peel, pepper flakes, or thyme twigs that cling to the meat.
3. Place the breasts skin side up on paper towels. Wipe off any excess moisture on the skin.
4. Preheat a heavy-bottom fry pan on medium-high.
5. Score the skin of the breasts with a sharp knife in order to create a crosshatch pattern.
6. Season the breasts with salt and pepper.
7. Once the pan is hot, put the oil in the pan, swirl it around, and place the duck in the pan. Be sure to move the breasts around until they do not stick (don’t put too many breasts in the pan at once—if you have a medium-sized pan, cook the breasts in batches of two).
8. Turn the heat to medium-low. Cook the breasts for 8 minutes on the skin. Frequently turn the breast skin around in the pan to ensure even cooking.
9. Flip the breasts over and cook them on the flesh for another minute.
10. Turn the duck back over so that the skin side faces down and place it in the oven to cook for another 7-9 minutes. Aim for medium-rare. The exact oven cooking time will vary depending on the size of the breasts.
11. Pull the breasts from the pan and place them on a plate. Loosely tent them with aluminum foil as they rest for 5 minutes.
12. After the breasts have rested, place them on a cutting board and thinly slice the meat across the grain.
13. Place the sliced breast on a plate or platter and spoon the sauce over the top of the meat.
“Duck Meat and Cholesterol.” Healthy Eating | SF Gate, San Francisco Chronicle, healthyeating.sfgate.com/duck-meat-cholesterol-2410.html.