Duck is a luxury I’ve only allowed myself to have on occasion, but it seems that people across the pond seem to be enjoying it often (thank you Conor, Mad Dog, Cooking in Sens) and I finally found a beautiful duck breast to prepare. It takes virtually no time at all. Just add a little salt and pepper, sear for a few minutes on both sides, cut and serve. The real sorcery involved here was in the sauce.
The fellowship of plums, wine and sugar is a dark alchemy. Remove the pit, boil them with a touch of sugar and a splash of red wine and it will cast its magic spell over your lips with the blood-red allure from its cauldron. The inside of the plums assume the same deep reddish purple hue as their beautiful skins and they take on a more viscous texture that combines perfectly with the duck. Charged with the tenor of Halloween spirit, I made extra so I could put this marvelous sweet, tart, blood red sauce on everything I eat. Last night I just took the spoon to the jar and ate it on its own.
Seared Duck Breast with Plum Sauce
- 2 duck breasts, fat scored, seasoned with salt and pepper or a mixed herb paste
- 4 plums, pitted and coarsely diced
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar (maybe even less if you like it more tart)
- 1/4 cup red wine (I hate wasting good wine, but you should only cook with something you’d happily drink. It’s only 1/4 cup, so maybe use your cheapest favorite (hello Casillero del Diablo Carmenere –$9.99), but I know it’s hard to part with
Bring the plums, cup of water, sugar and red wine to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every once in a while. Remove from the flame but keep warm. Sear the duck breasts on the fat side for about 6 minutes, empty the pan of the fat, turn the duck breasts over, then sear the other side for about 4-5 minutes until perfectly rare. Remove from the pan and allow to rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes. Slice and serve with the plum sauce alone or over your choice of greens or grains.