Citrus Herb Duck Breast with Brandied Cherry Maple Glaze
This is a very elegant entrée that is actually quite easy to prepare. The citrus herb duck breast is quite versatile and a great example of an ingredient that can be delicious at different times of the year by utilizing a different supporting cast. Just like a great actor can run the gamut between comedy and tragedy, this player can change the role dependent on which ingredients surround it. This particular combination really lends itself to the fall or winter. Brandied cherries, or other preserved cherries, are a way of extending the summer harvest to a time when they might not otherwise be available. Maple is likewise another flavor profile strongly associated the fall and winter months.
By carefully scoring the skin, this allows the duck fat to season the meat as it renders away. Unlike commercial chicken, the duck breast itself is very lean (and why it is recommended to be served rare to medium rare) and contains little intramuscular fat. The fat itself offers potential health benefits being rich in both the polyunsaturated fat acid linoleic acid which is found in such foods as walnuts and the monounsaturated fat oleic acid, which is the main constituent of olive oil. The fat itself, once rendered, can be stored and used in other dishes – potatoes cooked in duck fat is a classic. In the entrée featured here, the vegetables were lightly roasted in the rendered duck fat adding an additional layer of flavor and texture to the dish. Once again, this highlights the utility of the culinary medicine zero waste kitchen approach which helps reduce waste, increase sustainability, and stretch the dollar when using high-quality – and often more expensive – ingredients.
- 2 duck breasts
- Grapefruit Citrus salt
- 250mL (~1 cup) white wine
- 3 sage leaves
- 3 sprigs thyme
- Juice of 1 grapefruit
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 star anise
- 1 Tbs. brandied (or other preserved) cherries, chopped [plus several split or whole for garnish]
- 50 mL (~ ¼ cup) maple syrup
- 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
Trim the duck breasts, removing any unwanted fascia or excess skin. Score the skin lightly, making sure not to cut into the flesh. Season both sides liberally with citrus salt and set aside. In a large bowl combine all the marinade ingredients. Add the duck breasts and then allow to marinate at least four hours up to overnight.
When you’re ready to prepare the duck breast, preheat the oven to 425°F. Combine all the glaze ingredients in small bowl. Remove the duck breasts from the marinade and pat dry. In a cold pan, lay the duck breast skin side down. Cook over medium heat. Allow the fat to render and the skin to become crispy and dark golden brown. When the skin has cooked thoroughly, transfer the duck breast to a foil lined sheet pan and place skin side up in the oven. Finish cooking the duck breast for roughly 6 minutes (the exact time will depend on the thickness of the breast) until the internal temperature is about 120°F (for rare – medium rare duck). Remove the duck from the oven. Set the oven to broil and move the upper rack to its highest position. Coat the skin with the glaze. Place the duck breast on the uppermost rack and broil for about 90 seconds, until the glaze has set. Remove the duck breast from the oven and allow to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Slice thinly on the bias, and serve.