Michael Paddock’s Pan Seared Duck Breast

Paddock is back at it. Illustrated recipe after the jump. There is a reason we call this TheGoodLife!

Pan Seared Duck Breast

Ingredients (for 2 servings):
– 1 lb Duck Breast (skin on)
– fresh thyme, chopped up
– kosher/sea salt
– fresh cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 F

Scary huh? Boy, are you wrong! This is one of the easiest dishes to make, and a definite crowd pleaser. Start to finish in about 45 minutes…just enough time to hook up some brown rice and a nice salad. The Good Life indeed. If you can’t find duck breast at your local shop, you can order it from Dartagnan.com.

Step 1:
With a sharp knife, score the fat at a 45 degree angle, about a half inch apart. Once you make it to the end, turn it 45 degrees the other way and make another set of cuts, creating a diamond pattern in the fat. Be careful to cut into the fat, but NOT all the way through it. This will help render the fat, and help crisp it up.

Step 2:
Season both sides of the duck breast with kosher salt, cracked pepper and the chopped thyme.

Step 3:
Place an oven safe sauté pan on the stove top, set to medium low. When it comes up to temp, place the duck breast in the center of the pan, fat side down. DO NOT MOVE IT! You want the fat to slowly melt out (render) into the pan, and the skin to crisp up nice and golden. If it starts to sizzle and pop aggressively, lower the heat. Slow and low kids, slow and low. After about 12-15 minutes, you can check the skin to make sure its golden. Use tongs to pick up one end of it and check it out. Not golden enough? Keep it on there. This is also a good time to use some of that rendered duck fat in the pan to baste the breast.

Step 4:
Once the fat has rendered and the skin is nice and golden, place the pan in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. If there is a lot of fat in the pan, you can pour some out before placing pan in the oven. You want to check the inner temp of the breast after 10 minutes – you want it to read 125 for rare, 130 for medium rare.
Once the meat has cooked to your desired done-ness, pull it out of the oven, and place the breast on a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes. Internal temp will raise a bit here as well, so don’t be afraid to pull the breast out at 120…it will keep cooking. Resting the meat also allows the juices to absorb back into the meat, ensuring the juiciest possible duck. This goes for ALL meat kids – Let It Rest!

Step 5:
Slice up the breast into half inch slices, cutting all the way through to the skin, and serve it up with a couple nice sides and a bottle of your favorite red wine.