While at the Farmers Market on Saturday, I stopped by the Duck Farm booth. The ducks are all raised in the Hudson Valley. I opted for a couple of Lola Duck Breasts. I also grabbed some sunflower sprouts (never had them before) for a bright spring salad.
I cook my duck breasts pretty much the same way I cook my steaks - seared hard on a stove top and finished in a really hot oven. The skin gets crispy and the flesh stays moist and medium (which is fine with a game bird like duck - NOT chicken). I made a light red wine vinaigrette for the sunflower sprouts (they were really nice - great "green" flavor). I also had a small batch of homemade double-spinach ravioli (no, I did not make them - I bought them at the farmers market as well...haha). And while duck breast is perfectly fantastic by itself, I wanted some additional burst of flavor on the plate. keith bought me a fantastic fig jam (with big chunks of jam), so I cooked a couple of big spoon-fulls of the fig jam with some honey, balsamic vinegar, and a dash of soy sauce - it complemented the duck really well. And sorry, the pic isn't all that great, but I still wanted to show you the finished product:
Here are my instructions for a really nice duck breast:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Score the skin side of the breast with a sharp knife. Sprinkle the breast (both sides) with salt, pepper & olive oil (you don't need much olive oil as the fat is going to render off of the breast). Heat up a pan over high heat (drop to medium-high if the breast starts cooking too quickly), and add the breast skin-side down. Let it cook for 6-8 minutes so that the skin begins to crisp and brown. Turn the breast and cook the flesh side for 1-2 minutes to seal in juices & flavor. Turn it back over so the skin side is down and put it in the hot oven. Cook for 8 minutes or so (I had 2 and I cooked them for 10 minutes in the oven). Pull the breast out and let it sit for 5 minutes. Slice it against the grain and serve.