Tuesday, April 16

Orange-Maple Duck Breasts

Duck is one of my secrets for looking like a gourmet chef without much effort or time. I find that it’s actually easier to cook than chicken because it doesn’t need to be cooked well done and is easy to keep moist thanks to its generous layer of fat. The key is to deeply score the skin and fat and cook it skin-side down in the pan for the majority of the time so that most of the fat renders out and bastes the meat while crisping the skin. This recipe calls for a simple orange-maple glaze on top that adds a sweet-spicy-sticky lacquer over the duck. It’s an impressive, decadent dish that’s totally doable for a special weeknight meal or for entertaining a crowd.

Orange-Maple Duck Breasts:
  • Use a sharp knife to score the skin of 1 lb. of duck breasts* in a criss-cross pattern. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until very hot.
  • Add the duck, skin-side down, to the skillet and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until most of the fat has rendered and the skin is darkly golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the zest of 1 orange, 3 tbsp. maple syrup, 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, and 1 large pinch of red chili flakes.
  • Flip the duck to skin-side up and brush generously with the orange-maple glaze.
  • Cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until duck is light pink in the center.
  • Remove duck from the pan and rest for 5-10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Serves two-three
*Generally, this is about 2 large duck breasts.