Duck breast is one of my favorite cuts of meat, but it’s a challenge to cook right. You need to sear it so that the skin gets crispy at an even rate. Otherwise, the skin is prone to burn too quickly, leaving too much fat underneath. I’ve found that a lower temperature pan is key.
How to Cook Duck Breast
Start by scoring the thick skin with a sharp knife. See how the cross hatch pattern is a tight grid pattern? That’s what you are going for. Summer rosemary is very fragrant and will stand up against the richness of duck meat, so use at least 1 sprig of leaves as a marinade.
Duck meat is poultry, but does not carry the risk of salmonella like chicken so it’s often cooked to medium rare. That said, I prefer to cook the breast to medium because the texture is a bit less chewy. Either way, you must allow the duck to rest for several minutes before slicing.
Flavor Tip: Duck is quite substantial and can use a generous amount of salt and pepper before it tastes over salted. When seasoning the duck breast, apply evenly and right before cooking to build the deepest flavors.
In terms of flavor profile, I call this a French American preparation because of the use of fresh herbs and clean flavors. Thyme leaves get sprinkled on at the last moment, and all the summer vegetables sit inside of a green broth that’s salty and aromatic.
Easy Aromatic Green Sauce
To make the green broth, you simply blend water with green onion and garlic in a high speed blender. Then warm the sauce and stir in duck fat, known as lardo. Presto, an instant aromatic green pan sauce.
Where to Get the Lardo (Duck Fat)
In case you don’t have lardo from making duck confit, you can just skim off the pan drippings from this duck breast and reserve 1 tablespoon for the green sauce. Just like that, you have a delicious seasoning fat for your green broth.
Best Summer Vegetables with Duck Breast
You can include virtually any seasonal vegetable. I prefer some crunchy textures and the spicy bite of radishes (with green tops intact). Be sure to cut the potatoes very small so they cook evenly with the rest of the vegetables. I chose purple for contrast more than flavor.
Wherever you are, and whatever time of year, you can adapt this dish easily.
Star Ingredient: duck
Flavor Affinities: DUCK + SCALLIONS + ROSEMARY + THYME
Tastes: aromatic, sweet, savory
Textures: crispy, chewy, crunchy, brothy
Ease: moderate – difficult
Method: pan fry
Wisdom: Duck is a rich, high fat protein so it’s nice to pair it with fresh herbs and an aromatic green broth. Summer vegetables lighten the dish and add a bit of crunch.
Duck breast is available individually, but you will save money buying a whole duck and disjointing it yourself. See how to break down a whole duck and how to make confit here.Print
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