A seared duck breast that eats like a steak
I have fallen in love with well prepared duck, and have been in pursuit of the perfect seared duck breast for a while now. There is a great little restaurant in my cute little town of Collinsville CT that always has a seared duck breast dish on the menu. The creative chef at Francesca’s Wine Bar and Bistro mixes things up and prepares it several different ways so I tend to try them all.
I’ve been working on, for what seems like forever, making my version at home to my families dismay… “Duck again.. really”?
Now they love it, as it is so good. The great thing about this dish is that it is really very simple and easy to make, although there is some attention to detail required to pull of the perfectly, crispy skin, seared duck breast finished to the right temperature. The inside should still be pink after it rests – like a medium rare steak.
It’s also an affordable protein for the level of fancy you get. I find mine at Stop n Shop for about $5 a serving and their Canadian Canard Duck Breast is cryo-vac sealed so they can stay in the fridge a few days until you are ready to impress your spouse for the perfect date night. Once you dial this in, it’s great for a small dinner party of four as well.
I have made this seared duck breast several ways and have included a Simple Keto Blueberry Gastrique option for the sauce below for those preferring a sans-wine alternative and a sweeter taste profile.
I always serve mine over a cauliflower mash with either Brussels Sprouts or a some other farm fresh, sauteed green. Enjoy!
- 2 pounds boneless duck breasts (4)
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Fresh ground Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Nutmeg - 1 clove, fresh grated
- 1/2 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar - a good one
- 3/4 cup dry red wine - a wine worth drinking
- 1 tablespoon butter
- On a baking sheet, using a sharp knife, trim the excess edges of skin then cut a ¼-inch crosshatch pattern in the skin of each breast, being careful not to pierce the meat. Easiest to do this while the duck is cold.
- Skin-side down on the baking sheet, use a paring knife to remove the small white tendon that runs through each tenderloin if they are still attached to the breast. Find the vein that runs down the length of each breast and run your finger down the length of each vein. If any blood comes out, wipe it away with a paper towel.
- Season the flesh side of each breast with salt, pepper, and a healthy pinch of fresh grated nutmeg.
- Drizzle meat with few drops of the vinegar and lay a sprig of thyme down the length of each breast. Then flip the breast back over so skin side is facing up. Season skin side with generous pinch of salt and a pinch of nutmeg.
- Refrigerate uncovered, at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
- Season both sides of the duck breast with a pinch of salt and pepper and place skin side down into heated medium-low frying pan.
- Place the thyme sprigs into the pan while breasts are searing, infusing the fat with the thyme. Patience is key here. You want to slowly sear the duck breasts on medium-low for 15-20 minutes or until the skin is brown and crispy. Every few minutes move the breasts around to ensure even browning. You also want to use a spoon to remove the majority of the fat in the pan as it renders out of the skin. Have a bowl next to the stove for this.
- Once the skin is very crispy and the internal temperature of the breasts is about 115 degrees, flip the breasts over and just "kiss" the flesh side to the pan for about 60 seconds.
- Put the duck skin side down on a baking sheet and put into 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes or until internal temperature is about 125 degrees.
- Remove duck breasts from the oven and let rest 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove remaining fat from pan, leaving thyme sprigs, and place over medium heat. Pour in 3/4 cup of dry red wine and scrape up all the delicious browned bits with a wooden spoon, stirring into the wine. Let wine come to a simmer and let reduce to about 1/3 of cup. Whisk in butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
- After resting, slice duck breasts on a diagonal into 3 slices. Plate slices onto each plate on top of a cauliflower mash and a green veggie of your choice.
- Spoon the red wine sauce over the duck and serve.
- Some of the calculated macros seem to be off a bit per serving.
- Each serving should be approx: Fat: 43 grams / Protein: 40 grams
- 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp. fresh orange zest
- Place all the ingredients in small sauce pan on low heat. Bring to a boil and then simmer until sauce thickens and reduces to about 1/4 cup.
- The sweetness will come from the berries and balsamic so pick ones that are sweet.