Black Currant-Lacquered Duck Breast
Published by William Morrow
This dish is much simple than it reads or looks. The duck is pan-roasted on the stovetop and the lacquer comes together quickly in the same pan. The combination takes its cue from the hoisin sauce that’s traditionally served with Peking duck to balance the rich, crisp-skinned bird with sweet relief.
Semi-Boneless Quail can be cooked following the same recipe and cooking times.
In the summer, grill chicken breasts with the skin on, basting with the lacquer as they cook.
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
OccasionCooking for a date, Formal Dinner Party
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Taste and Texturefruity, juicy, meaty, rich, savory, spiced, sweet, tangy, umami
- Four 6- to 8-ounce whole duck breasts, or two 1-pound magret duck breasts (from a Moulard duck)
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ cup black currant jam
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
With the point of a knife, score the skin side of the duck breasts in a crosshatch pattern, being careful not to pierce the flesh. This helps release and render the layer of fat under the skin and makes the finished duck look stunning.
Heat a saute pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper. Put the breasts in the pan, skin side down, and cook over medium to low heat to render the fat and brown the skin, 6 to 8 minutes. Carefully drain off and discard any accumulated fat from the pan and return the pan to the stove.
Carefully turn the breasts over and brown the flesh side for 3 to 4 minutes, or several more minutes for magret breasts. Remove the breasts to a plate and cover to keep warm.
Add the shallots to the pan and return the pan to the heat. Saute the shallots until softened but not browned, 2 minutes, then add the ginger, honey, jam, and vinegar and stir. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 2 or 3 minutes to reduce and thicken to a lacquer-like glaze.
Put the breasts, skin side up, on a nonstick cookie sheet, brush some lacquer on the upward-facing side of each breast, and reheat in the oven for 3 minutes.
To serve, slice the breasts lengthwise or crosswise and arrange the slices of 1 breast on each of 4 plates. Quickly reheat the sauce, if necessary, and drizzle some around the duck breasts.
2004 Michael Lomonaco and Andrew Friedman