Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pan Fried Duck Breast with Orange, Thyme, Parsley, and Juniper Berry Rub with Blood Orange Relish - Valentine's Day Part 2

Valentines Day Duck
Ok, so Valentine's Day part 2, The Meal.
I don't think that I can get everything that we ate into this one little blog post so I'm going to explain the duck with its luscious Orange relish, then tomorrow I will go into detail about the side dishes. Yes, we totally went all out with this meal but it was oh so worth it. And come on, it's Valentine's day, I had to show my man how much I loved him by filling his pie hole with as much good food as I could muster up.

I love duck, and I adore it even more with a fruity sauce, but I have never had the guts to actually cook the bird. What if I screwed up, that’s a 12 dollar hunk of meat. But, when I went to the store early Valentine's day morning to get the sickie his Captain Crunch, I saw that there was a sale on Magret duck breasts and decided that if I screwed up, it wouldn’t cost us as much. I also saw Anthony Sedlak making this duck recipe a couple times on TV and he made it look quite easy, so I was feeling adventurous.

Really, it was just as easy as he made it seem. The key is to pan fry the duck at a low temperature and the fat literally melts away. If you keep spooning the fat out of the pan then the skin becomes delicious and crispy, giving you half a cup of duck fat to freeze and make all kinds of delightful dishes with. Then just pop the duck breast into the oven for another few minutes to finish it off, and you’re done! Plus, the juniper berries, thyme, parsley, and orange rub adds so much flavour to the duck.

I truly enjoyed the blood orange relish that accompanied the duck. This meat pairs perfectly with any sort of fruit and you really can’t go wrong. Actually, I was just really proud of myself for making orange relish, like really, who can say that they have made that.

Pan Fried Duck Breast
adapted from Anthony Sedlak's book The Main
serves 4

3 duck breasts
1 tbsp black pepper
zest of 1 orange
1 1/4 tbsp crushed juniper berries
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tsp coarse sea salt

Orange Relish
1 large orange
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Pan Fried Duck Breast
Score skin side of breast in criss cross pattern. Combine black pepper, orange zest, juniper berries, parsley and thyme and pat firmly onto flesh side of duck breasts. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400. Let duck breasts stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.
Season generously on flesh side with coarse sea salt. Place duck skin side down in a large cold, oven proof skillet and cook slowly over medium heat. Remove liquid fat from pan as it accumulates, until skin becomes crispy and golden, about 8-10 minutes. Finish cooking in oven about 7-10 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting thinly against the grain.

Blood Orange Relish
Cut off orange peel, avoiding white pith. Blanch peels briefly in boiling water; drain and chop roughly. Trim off and discard white pith from orange. Cut orange into small pieces and combine with chopped peel, sugar and white wine vinegar in a small pot. Simmer gently until liquid cooks down and relish becomes slightly syrupy, about 5-6 minutes; season with salt and pepper.


Cookie baker Lynn said...

Sounds like your Valentine's dinner was fabulous!

Coco Bean said...

Thanks Lynn! We had a blast.