9.24.10 Duck, Duck, Plum

Duck breast1 790 xxx
photo by george billard
For a quick and easy weeknight dinner, may I recommend the duck breast? I never really thought I liked duck breast, finding it rather too pink and chewy for my taste. But then G taught me how to sear the bejesus out of it in a hot cast iron skillet, finish it in the oven, and serve it in thin, juicy slices topped with a bit of crisp skin. Accompanied by a pile of tangy sauerkraut and some greens dressed with a walnut vinaigrette, you've got an admirable meal on the table in 20 minutes. Another thing that goes especially well with duck is any sort of fruit chutney you might have hanging around.
Balsamic plums 790 xxx
photo by gluttonforlife
I heat a few of these pickled plums in a small skillet and spoon them over the duck just before serving—divine! If you don't have these on hand (but you should, they're a snap to make and the last of the season's plums are crying out to be preserved), you can warm plum (or any other fruit) chutney or even jam with a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar for a similar effect.SEARED DUCK BREAST WTH PICKLED PLUMSserves 22 duck breasts (halves), skin on and off the bone6 pickled plums (or jam/chutney and balsamic vinegar)sea salt and pepperPreheat the oven to 350.Salt and pepper the breasts generously on both sides. Meanwhile, place a large cast iron or other heavy skillet over high heat. When it's piping hot, place the duck breasts in, skin side down and sear well, about 4 minutes. Turn and sear the other side, about 3 minutes. Then remove to a roasting pan and place in the oven for about 8 minutes. (You can strain and save the duck fat in a little glass jar. It's wonderful for frying potatoes.)While the duck is roasting, heat the pickled plums in a small skillet over medium heat, allowing them to dissolve a bit. If you're using jam or chutney, heat about 4 tablespoons with a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar.Remove duck from oven, slice thinly and drizzle with warm plum mixture.
Tagged — easy, plums, dinner, duck, poultry, fruit


I have always enjoyed duck breast and after reading your recipe decided to look up its nutritional stats, specifically fat content -- was pleasantly surprised to learn a breast without the skin is relatively low in fat, only 1 gram per ounce of meat (versus about 3 grams per ounce with skin), so will be trying this delicious sounding recipe soon, thanks as always for such inspiring ideas!
stephanie on September 24, 2010 at 8:27 am —
Yes, it has a pleasantly meaty chew that is unlike much poultry. Even without the skin, I think you will enjoy the flavor!
laura on September 24, 2010 at 8:32 am —
I always have my tin foil wrapped brick at the ready for panseared magret of duck.
Vetivresse on September 26, 2010 at 6:32 pm —
Oooh! You'll have to share that technique with me at some point.
laura on September 27, 2010 at 3:56 am —
After roasting a whole duck last year, I save duck for special occasions now, but just a breast would be fun to eat once in a while....love the pickled plums addition and of course, how can you go wrong with walnut oil!???? I'll have to get some plums before they're all gone now.
naked beet on September 28, 2010 at 8:48 am —
Duck breast is probably my all-time favourite protein, the only other real contender being duck confit. It does make a perfect mid-week supper with some nicely dressed bitter greens. My one complaint was always what a mess it made of the stove, with all that fat splattering around. A friend taught me the trick of putting the breast in a cold cast iron pan over medium-low heat, and rendering the fat slowly for about 8 minutes before flipping the breast over and finishing the breast in the oven for another 8 or so minutes. You drain the fat a few times as it renders, and even though the heat isn't high at all, you still get a perfectly crispy skin. My favourite fruit complement for duck is wine-poached pears.
David on October 12, 2010 at 4:56 pm —
And the photo of the plums and balsamic is so perfectly autumnal and painterly. We're going to be trying something in this mood with squash.
David on October 12, 2010 at 5:01 pm —
I'll have to try your technique. Can't wait to see what you do with the squash!
laura on October 12, 2010 at 6:10 pm —