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Pan Seared Duck Breast with Apricot Sauce

Duck Apricot Almonds2

Pan Seared Duck Breast with Apricot Sauce

This is one of those fake-out meals. Super simple. Yet fabulous! Indulgent, savory, intense, sweet, salty… it’s got everything. Also, if you choose unprocessed ingredients, this can easily fit into a healthy meal plan… depending on your diet.

The secret to delicious duck

The technique for pan searing a delicious juicy duck breast is pretty much the opposite of proper technique for pan searing a delicious juicy steak.

For steak you want…

  • a screaming hot pan
  • a quick sear
  • and no pressing the meat with a spatula!

For duck, you want…

  • a cold pan
  • a slow sear
  • and a flat press

For both proteins, letting the meat rest is essential. A salt rub will tenderize both proteins and give you great flavor.

It’s that simple.

Duck Breast

Using a very sharp knife, cut a cross hatch pattern into the duck skin. This will allow for even cooking, and prevent skin from shriveling. It will also allow the fat to render out more evenly. it is easier to do this neatly when the skin is very cold.

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If you are Martha Stewert, you will probably pour a beautiful even layer of salt into a sheet tray and place the duck breast on them, skin side down, for one hour. Then you will gently brush off excess salt and chill the meat for another hour.

If you are a busy mom on a tight schedule with a hungry duck-loving kid to feed, you will probably sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the skin side of the duck breast, put a heavy flat object on top to press it, and let it sit for about 20 minutes while you prepare everything else. Then you will throw the duck into the fridge, or maybe even the freezer, for a few minutes – unbrushed – just long enough to chill it.

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Next, you need a cold skillet. Place the duck breast skin-side down into the skillet. Turn the heat on low-medium. Slowly allow the duck to render its fat. The goal is to achieve a crispy skin with all that beautiful fat underneath the skin rendered out. I usually season the flesh side with salt and pepper at this point. (You could have done this before.)

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Be sure to collect and save that fat! You can make delicious meals with this.

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When the skin is nicely browned, flip the duck and cook until the flesh side is browned. Most of your cooking time will have been concentrated on the skin side.

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When both sides are browned, set the duck aside to rest. You can tent it with tin foil to rest, if you like. (I rest it flat… this duck is just posed for the camera.)

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When the duck has rested a few minutes, slice or cut it any way you like. Duck, like steak, should be cooked to medium or medium-rare… if you like tender meat. 🙂 But it is your duck… however you like it best is correct.

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This duck is tender and savory!

Flavor Synergy

Duck, apricots, and almonds are VERY good friends. You don’t need the chocolate, but why would you not want chocolate?

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Pan Seared Duck Breast with Apricot Sauce

These flavors are just beautiful together! You can combine them on the plate any way you like. It will be delicious.

Ingredients

  • Duck breast
  • Almonds
  • Apricot preserves, preferably a brand made from just apricots
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Optional: Chocolate chips
  • Optional: Celtic or any coarse sea salt
  • Optional: Duck skin cracklings

Duck breast

With a sharp knife, cut a cross hatch pattern into the skin. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the skin side of the duck breast, put a heavy flat object on top to press it, and let it sit for about 20 minutes while you prepare everything else. Then place the duck into the fridge just long enough to chill it.

In a cool skillet, place the duck breast skin-side down. Turn the heat on low-medium. Slowly allow the duck to render its fat. The goal is to achieve a crispy skin with all that beautiful fat underneath the skin rendered out. Be sure to collect and save that fat! You can make delicious meals with this. I usually season the flesh side with salt and pepper at this point. (You could have done this before.)

When the skin is nicely browned, flip the duck and cook until the flesh side is browned. Most of your cooking time will have been concentrated on the skin side.

When both sides are browned, set the duck aside to rest. You can tent it with tin foil to rest, if you like.

When the duck has rested a few minutes, slice or cut it any way you like. Duck, like steak, should be cooked to medium or medium-rare… if you like tender meat. :-) But it is your duck… however you like it best is correct.

Serve with apricot sauce, sprouted and toasted almonds, and if desired, your favorate chocolate, sprinkled with a bit of coarse or Celtic sea salt. Mmmmmmmmmm

Apricot sauce (for 2)

  • 1/4 c apricot preserves
  • 2 t apple cider vinegar
  • To taste: diced shallot or onion powder if you prefer a smooth texture
  • Salt, to taste

“Sprouted” Almonds

Soak almonds (however many you like) in water over night (or longer), refrigerated. Strain water from soaked almonds and allow to dry or toast them in the oven or in a skillet.

Chocolate shards

Melt your favorite chocolate chips. Onto a parchment lined sheet tray, spread the melted chocolate to create a flat thin rectangle’ or any shape you like. Put the sheet tray in the freezer and allow chocolate to set up. When you are ready to plate, break it into non-uniform pieces. The chocolate will decide. 🙂 Use the ones you like best on the plate.

Cracklings

If you have duck skin available, because you have broken down your own whole duck, fry the skin until it is crispy. Crispy bacon bits would also be delicious!

Enjoy!

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