It’s hard to screw up duck breast, but also difficult to get it just right. Came pretty close tonight. Patted dry with paper towels, rubbed with a spice mix of salt, pepper, chili powder, sage, thyme, and rosemary, then gently pan seared in a cast iron skillet until medium rare. Served on a bed of sauteed asparagus and fresh peas with mushrooms and crumbled duck bacon, covered with fresh blueberry sauce, a side of garlic mashed potatoes, and washed down with a Golan Heights syrah.
Based on this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/141831/pan-seared-duck-breast-with-blueberry-sauce/
The dish is actually composed of 4 parts: the duck, the vegetables, the sauce, and the potatoes.
Mix the spices in roughly equal parts to taste in a mortar and pestle and crush into a fine powder. Or chop the herbs if using fresh, which is of course prefered. Sprinkle liberally over both sides of duck, and allow to air dry at room temperature while preparing the other components.
Boil 3-4 potatoes with an equal # of peeled whole garlic cloves. No need to peel the potatoes. Drain but reserve a cup of the cooking liquid. Mash with butter and milk, add a bit of the liquid if too dry. Season with the duck spice mix.
Saute two strips of D’Artagnan’s amazing duck bacon (or use pancetta or regular bacon) to render the fat until crispy. Reserve. Saute sliced mushrooms, garlic, and shallots in duck fat. Add asparagus and peas (or other fresh vegetables). Cook until barely tender but still al dente. Season with the spice mix used on the duck. Add a bit of the potato cooking water to keep from sticking and help vegetables to steam.
Make the sauce with 1/2 pint fresh blueberries, and 2 TB (1/8 cup) each buckwheat honey, orange juice concentrate, red wine, water, dried cranberries. Deglaze with a splash of raspberry vodka or other spirit (optional). Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Remove from heat and enrich with a pat of butter (optional). Keep warm over very low heat until ready to serve.
Score skin of duck breast in diagonal pattern. Make sure to cut through outer layer, but don’t damage the meat. Pan sear over medium heat, skin side down for 5 minutes. Flip and cook for a few minutes. Test temperature with an instant read thermometer. Flip back over and cook until skin is nicely browned and fat is rendered. Do not overcook!
Allow meat to rest for a few minutes, then slice and plate, topped with sauce.