Seriously Simple: Make Crispy Duck Breast for your valentine
Valentine's Day is one of the busiest nights of the year for restaurants. For me, it is a time to enjoy a lovely meal at home with good friends. I can't think of a better dish to serve than crispy duck breasts. Easy to prepare for a novice cook, duck breasts are the best combination of a crispy duckling and the meatiness of a good steak.
Quick to put together and much less messy than roasting a whole duck, duck breasts are a perfect main course for a small dinner party. The key to achieving a crisp skin is letting the skin dry out overnight in the refrigerator.
You can gather guests in the kitchen as you cook. This recipe serves 4 to 6, depending upon how large the duck breasts are and how big your guests' appetites are. If you just want dinner for two, simply halve the amount of duck breasts - however, I would make the whole sauce amount in this recipe. The reason is simple: You can never have too much sauce! Try to find fresh duck breasts, as the frozen variety tend to become rubbery. Muscovy or Hudson Valley ducks are preferred.
For Valentine's dinner, pair the duck with herbed rice or orzo pasta. The sweet red cherry sauce is a vibrant contrast to the crispy brown skin. Bright green broccoli spears completes the menu. I vote for an Oregon Pinot Noir to drink. For dessert, anything chocolate, of course, and maybe a late harvest dessert wine to cap off the evening with sweet thoughts.
Crispy Duck Breast With Cherry Port Sauce
Remember to start this one day ahead of serving.
4 (3⁄4- to 1-pound) boned duck breast halves with the skin left on
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium shallots, minced
3⁄4 cup veal or duck stock
1 1⁄2 tablespoons orange honey
3 tablespoons tawny port
3⁄4 cup fresh pitted Bing cherries (you can use frozen, if fresh is not available)
1 1⁄2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pound the duck halves between two pieces of wax paper with a heavy pan or a mallet to even out the thickness. Score the duck breasts with a very sharp knife by cutting crisscross lines on the skin, making sure not to cut into the duck meat. Place them on a baking sheet and cover loosely with wax paper. Refrigerate overnight to allow the skin to dry out for a crispy end result.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet, large enough to fit the four halves, on medium-high. Saute the duck breasts, skin side down for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the skin is very crisp and nicely browned. Turn over and saute for another 5 minutes or until the duck breasts are medium rare. Remove and place on a wood carving platter and loosely cover. (If you prefer medium, cook another 2 minutes on the second side). Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings and saute the shallots for a minute or until softened, stirring the brown bits up. Add the stock, honey, port and cherries, and increase the heat to high. Reduce the mixture to a light glaze, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the 11⁄2 tablespoons butter to thicken and add sheen to the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Slice the duck breasts thinly on the diagonal and arrange on serving plates. Spoon over the sauce and serve immediately.
Advance Preparation: May be prepared through step 1 up to one day ahead and refrigerated.
Serves 4 to 6
Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Holidays,” and also a James Beard award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Opposing defenses find success against Steelers by eschewing blitz
- Penguins forward Downie becoming a hit with teammates
- Steelers looking for Spence to step up game at inside linebacker
- Western Pennsylvania residents chill about forecasters’ spat
- Shale oil, gas finds put Mon Valley on path to renaissance, leaders say
- Large-scale batteries are integral in shift to renewable energy
- North Huntingdon church shaken by youth pastor’s child porn rap
- Legal titans prepared to tussle in Ferrante cyanide homicide trial
- All signs positive for Pitt junior forward Johnson
- Fox Chapel native nearing return to Penn State offensive line
- Pitt’s defense has not rested in post-Donald era