I’ve cooked seared duck breast more often than I can count, but it’s never the same, even when the trimmings are, and it’s never a disappointment.
This wonderful local bird is available all year round, but I can’t quite get used to enjoying Brussels sprouts in the middle of the winter.
- one duck breast (.85 lbs) from Hudson River Duck Farm, the fatty side scored in tight cross hatching with a very sharp knife, the entire breast then sprinkled top and bottom with a mixture of sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a little turbinado sugar, left standing for about 45 minutes before it was pan-fried inside a small oval enameled cast iron pan, dry, over medium heat for a total of about 10 minutes, the fatty side down first, then turned over halfway through, draining the oil from the pan part of the way through [to be strained and used in cooking later, if desired], the duck removed when done (cut into 2 portions to check that the center is of the right doneness, which means no more than medium rare), left to sit for several minutes before it was finished with a drizzle of juice from an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market, a bit of chopped rosemary from Stokes Farm and a drizzle of olive oil [NOTE: the tenderloin, to the right of the breast proper in the image above, had been removed before the duck was marinated, but seasoned like the rest of it, then fried very briefly near the end of the time the larger section was cooking]
- two ripe, halved, Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods Market, dried with a paper towel, placed cut side down inside the pan as the breast was was finishing, turned once, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, arranged on the plates next to the duck and drizzled with a drop of olive oil
- micro red amaranth from Two Guys from Woodbridge, a garnish for the tomatoes
- small January Brussels sprouts from John D. Madura Farms, snapped directly off their 2-foot stalk, washed, trimmed, and dried, then tossed with olive oil, sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, roasted in a 400º oven on a large unglazed Pampered Chef oven pan until they were browned and crisp on the outside (they will taste surprisingly sweet and quite nutty), arranged on the plates and finished with a sprinkling of herbed fresh breadcrumbs (although become somewhat dry and crusty themselves after 10 days), left from a supply made for an earlier meal, that is, a mixture of crumbs from what was then a day-old polenta boule from She Wolf Bakery, finely-chopped fresh thyme and winter savory leaves from Stokes Farm, a little peppermint from Phillips Farm, parsley from S. & S.O. Produce, salt, and pepper
- the wine was a French (Cotes-du-Rhone) red, La Manarine, Cotes-du-Rhone, 2015, from Flatiron Wines & Spirits
- the music was Vivaldi’s ‘Dresden Sonatas’, performed by Europa Galante, Fabio Biondi, violin, Rinaldo Alessandrini, cembalo, and Maurizio Naddeo, cello