Seared and Seasoned Duck Breast

Duck is one of my favorite dishes to order at a restaurant, probably because I shy away from cooking it most of the time.  Waterfowl season is in full swing and most hunters I know in Oregon save the meat to put in pepperoni, not a bad option because it turns out pretty good and gets ate fairly fast by coworkers and friends.  Although be forewarned every time I am in a duck blind eating duck pepperoni I never shoot any ducks.  I am going to make this recipe real easy.  I have researched recipes and I could easily break this down to be complicated but there is a spice blend out there that has most of what you need.  Go to the store and purchase Emeril Lagassi Essence spice, you know the famous chef.  What I do is take a breast with the fat on, try to pick a really fat mallard with lots of fat on the breast.  Probably a local duck that is not flying from Canada to Mexico.  Liberally apply the Essence spice on both sides of the breast and set in the fridge for a couple of hours.  Use sea salt and pepper liberally as well.

Spice both sides of the duck breast

Apply seasoning on both sides before putting it back into the fridge.

After spicing the breast take a sharp knife and score the meat on the fat side

When you are getting ready to cook the duck, take out of fridge and let it sit covered for at least thirty minutes.  I was making Sunday Gravy all day, a famous Sunday dish that I make once or twice a year.

Bring Cast Iron skillet to high heat and sear breast fat side down

Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil after the pan is hot.  Once the meat begins to sizzle fat side down, turn to medium high heat.   Once the fat side is browned, turn the breast over.

The fat side of the breast is nice and browned

You are going to have to keep turning this breast several times until the breast is medium rare.  I can tell to the touch like a steak, you can use a meat temp probe if you need too.  Once the meat is medium rare pull from the skillet and let sit for three to five minutes before slicing.

My two hungry duck eating daughters waiting for the dinner

Once both sides are completed and the meat is medium rare I remove from the skillet.

Remove breast from the skillet

Slice the meat about 1/4 inch thick and plate.

A little Sunday Gravy on pasta and duck breast and a blue cheese wedge

The breast is perfect medium rare.  Remember it is better to error on the side of under cooked with duck than over cooked.  You can always take an undercooked rare breast slice and finish off in the same skillet in seconds if you need too.

Megan’s favorite salad, The Blue Cheese Wedge with of course Oregon Blue

Plate your dish and serve.  I practiced this before serving to my clients.  I think they enjoyed it, though I did not make the Sunday Gravy for them.

Plated and ready for the table

Here is a little trick.  Deglaze the cast iron skillet and then drizzle over the duck.  You can deglaze with a little bit of wine, Marsala, or Sherry.  Basically get your skillet hot and pour in a 1/4 cup of wine or less and then take your spatula and scrub the bottom of the pan to get all the tidbits on the bottom of the pan.  Boil until it reduces.

Enjoy folks.

Hunting Chef

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