Monday, June 1

Duck Breasts with Cherry Salsa

Turn fresh cherries into a sweet-savory salsa for grilled or roasted meat

Fresh cherries are everywhere at our markets in L.A. I can buy a big bag of them, set them out on the table with a small bowl next to it for pits and stems, and they'll be gone before the afternoon is over. But when it comes to cooking with them, my favorite thing to do is use them in savory dishes. The fruit is so sweet on its own that it makes a really nice contrast to rich and fatty meats like duck. In this recipe, a simple pan-roasted duck breast is topped with a sweet and spicy salsa made from cherries, jalapeño, red onion, and cilantro. It's a quick meal and the only step that takes any time is pitting the cherries, but luckily you only need to pit a cupful. The salsa idea comes from a Raley's newsletter that my aunt sent me, and while the combination of cherries with raw onion and cilantro might sound odd, it really works together and tastes delicious. If you're not a fan of duck or have trouble finding it at the market, the salsa would also pair well with pork or lamb.

Related Recipes:
- Duck Breasts with Fig Sauce
- Poached Cherries with Goat Cheese
- Duck with Cherry Port Sauce

Pan-Roasted Duck Breasts with Cherry Salsa:
- 2 large duck breasts, skin on and boneless
- 1 c. fresh cherries, pitted and diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and minced
- 2 tbsp. red onion, minced
- 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
- 1/2 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Combine the cherries, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and a pinch of salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Check for seasoning and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat.
  • Score the fat on the duck breasts in a criss-cross pattern with a pairing knife and season both side of the duck with salt and pepper.
  • Add the duck to the pan, fat side down, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the fat has rendered and the skin is brown and crispy.
  • Flip the duck over and cook for another 2-3 minutes. The duck should be pink in the center still.
  • Let the duck rest for a few minutes, then slice and serve with the cherry salsa.

Serves two, with some salsa left over