Pan-Roasted Duck Breast with Fig-Shallot Gastrique

Ingredients:

  • For the Duck:
  • 1 Magret duck breast fillet (about 1 pound)
  • Coarse salt (to taste)
  • Fresh-ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • For the Gastrique:
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 dried Turkish figs, quartered, stems removed
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Balsamic vinegar, to taste

Directions:

Makes 4 servings

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º.
  2. Wash the duck breast and dry thoroughly. Score the skin side of the breast deeply with a sharp knife at half-inch intervals. Season each side with coarse salt and a grinding of pepper.
  3. Place a teaspoon of olive oil in a heavy skillet and set the pan on high heat. When the oil just starts to smoke add the duck breast, skin side down. Sear undisturbed for about 4 minutes. Turn the breast and sear the meat side another minute.
  4. Drain off excess fat from the pan. Place the skillet with the duck in the preheated oven. Roast, uncovered, to an internal temperature of about 128º (about 20 minutes). When the duck has reached the desired temperature remove from the pan and place on a side plate. Cover with foil and allow to rest about ten minutes.
  5. While the duck is roasting, place the shallots in a small pan with one teaspoon olive oil on medium heat. Sauté for a few minutes, stirring, until the shallots begin to turn golden. Add the figs, wine, ground cloves and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, then simmer gently until the mixture starts to thicken, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully add balsamic vinegar to taste. 
  6. To serve, slice the breast and arrange on the plates. Place a generous spoonful of the gastrique on each plate.