I did manage to rally last night, and pull together a nice dinner. Certainly not worthy of Julia, but a bit fancier than the usual - Pan roasted duck breast with green beans, polenta and mushrooms in a balsamic red wine glaze. This duck recipe is absolutely the most simple one I've seen and it turns out perfectly every time. The duck is juicy and flavorful and the skin is crispy, salty and delicious. If you like duck it's a wonderful preparation for guests or a special occasion because it takes less than twenty minutes and almost no fuss. You'll feel like Julia without having to struggle with deboning your own bird, use a chinois to strain sauce or deprive the tri-state area of its butter supply.
courtesy of Emeril Lagasse
- the number you cook will depend on how hearty your eaters and are the number of sides you are making. With my husband I assume he gets his own, but my parents would probably split one between the two of them.
- duck breasts are available in some grocery stores now and many specialty stores. D'Artagnan is a good brand. We usually get the Magret breasts, which should be a bit over $10.00 a pound. Online they sell the breasts in four packs for around $50.
1 scant tablespoon olive oil.
Preheat your oven to 400 F. First rinse the duck and pat it dry. Then coat both sides in essence. Your ducks will look like this:
On the left is the underside of the duck, on the right, the delicious layer of fat. Mmm. Duck fat. In an ovenproof skillet, warm the oil. You really don't need a lot of oil because the duck will give off tons of fat. Have the pan on medium heat and when the oil is hot, place the ducks in the pan skin side down. Cook them for 6 minutes. At the end of six minutes flip them over. The skin will be browned and shiny and crisp. Pour off some of the duck fat*. Emeril doesn't mention this, but I'd rather not have any oven fires, so I drain probably three-quarters of what's in the pan. I drain into a metal mixing bowl just because it's so darn hot and I'm afraid glass would crack and plastic would melt. Once you've flipped the ducks and poured off some fat, place the pan in the hot oven for an additional 8-10 minutes. You can use a meat thermometer to check for doneness if you worry about that sort of thing, the final temperature you want is 120 F. Remember the duck will come up a few degrees while it rests so you can pull it around 110 F. When you remove the duck from the oven, cover it and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Mine was still giving off quite a bit of juice after that time, so it really does need to sit. Slice it on the bias into quarter inch slices. Feel very gourmet and impressive indeed.
*Duck fat is great to freeze and use later to make Coq au Vin or other chicken dishes richer and more flavorful. Use duck fat as you would butter.