Grilled Duck Breast with cherry plum sauce

What a wonderful thing a duck breast is — however unforgiving!  Just a few seconds and you’ve overcooked it.  Your duck breast should be cooked to medium (although my brother likes his medium rare).  Remember when you’re grilling it that it will continue to cook a little while you let it rest after removing it from the heat.  One breast per person is a serving.

For 2 people:

  • 2 duck breasts, removed from package and dry on a paper towel.  If they are bloody, I usually rinse them under cold water before drying on a paper towel.  Score the fat cap (I do one cut lengthwise and then several cuts across each breast).  Salt and pepper to taste — remember that the salt will help render the fat so salt that side a little more liberally.

Heat a grill pan, or your outside barbecue grill, over a high heat.  Once it is very hot, add your duck breast(s) fat side down and reduce heat to medium.  Cook for 5 minutes on the fat side and then turn over for a minute to sear the meat side.  Turn it again to the fat side, cover and cook for another 4-5 minutes.  Remove cover and let cook another 2-5 minutes depending on doneness.  The breast should give slightly when cooked to medium.  The more give, the rarer the meat.  Remove from pan and let rest 3-5 minutes before slicing.

While the duck is cooking, dice one red or purple plum and put in a small saucepan with a 1/4 cup of water.  Add 6-8 pitted cherries (I actually had some dried bing cherries in the cupboard that I used).  Cover and cook on medium low heat for 8-12 minutes until the plums are soft enough to mash.  The skin will melt into the sauce.  If you prefer, blackberries would also go very well with the plums and the duck.

Duck goes really well with lots of sides.  I usually serve mine with the celery root and parsnip mash along with some sautéed bok choy, green beans with garlic sauce, maybe even some of our fresh tomato slices or a small tossed salad.

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