I was talking to a friend recently & somehow we got on the topic of duck & more specifically how crazy good a perfectly pan seared rare-medium rare Crispy Skinned Duck Breast is. As the conversation progressed I made a comment about the awesome side benefit of the liquid gold or rendered duck fat is. (My Crispy Duck Fat Potatoes came to mind immediately.) I think I lost him there because he kind of just got this look like huh, no idea what you`re talking about? I proceeded to ask if he`d ever made duck at home. I think the answer that came back was ¨oh hell no¨ or maybe a little stronger. Clearly this was something he considered a ¨restaurant only¨ kind of offering. As I started thinking about it, it occurred to me that only on really rare occasions (like once & they have a personal chef) have I had duck this way at anyone`s home. Maybe people have the misconception this is difficult to execute so,… that was my inspiration for this post.
The fact is if you can pan sear a steak you can totally do this! In fact cooking a duck breast might even be easier. There`s one main difference in the cooking methods. For steak you typically want your pan scorching hot to ensure that nice sear & crust. With a duck breast you want to start with a cold pan & bring it to temperature slowly to render as much fat as possible leaving behind golden Crispy Skinned Duck goodness.
All that being said let`s get started. This simple man`s plan today is Crispy Skinned Duck Breast…and Eggs. Eggs you say? Yep, I know this is usually looked at as a dinner entrée but it`s todays breakfast. Think steak & eggs with a twist but I`m thinking a better twist. The rich super juicy duck was AMAZING with eggs! All yolky & stuff, this was something dreams are made of!! Don`t worry, the cooking method is the same if it`s at 6:00am & the first meal of the day or 7:00pm & dinner time. The eggs are totally up to you, it`s just what I happened to be making this morning. The real focus today is the ¨How To¨ with the duck breast.
Here`s what you`ll need for your Crispy Skinned Duck…and Eggs:
1 Duck Breast- about 1 lb
S & P
Eggs- 8-12 cooked to your preference
Anything else- optional
A look at both sides of the star.
Ok then, let`s get started. Take the breasts out of the fridge about a 1/2 an hour before cooking. You want them to come to about room temperature. With a SHARP knife score the skin in a crosshatch pattern. This is going to help expose & render more of the fat layer under the skin. Be careful to only cut through the skin & fat. You don`t want to cut the meat itself. Season both sides generously with sea salt & fresh pepper.Add your duck breast to a dry, cold ovenproof skillet. No grease needed. Again, we`re not looking for that immediate sear you want with a steak. We want to slowly bring up to temperature to render as much fat as possible. Turn your stove to medium high & cook for 6-8 minutes. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.Quite a lot of fat will be rendered. Now we don`t want to poach the duck in it`s fat so I like to remove it periodically. Either tilt the pan & use a spoon or hold the duck in place with a pair of tongs & pour off the fat. Whatever you do make sure to save this ¨liquid gold¨! It will keep for quite awhile in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer. After a few minutes lift up the edge & take a peek to see if the skin side if nice & golden.When ready flip the breast & cook another 2-3 minutes. Place in your preheated oven to finish cooking for another 3-5 minutes or until your desired level of doneness.
Tell me this isn`t beautiful! Now, this next step is super important. Just like a steak you need to let your duck rest before slicing or all that lovely, divine juice will run out all over your cutting board. Please DON`T let that happen!! Remove from the pan, place skin side up, cover & let it rest for 5-7 minutes. Slice thinly & serve.As I said, this was my breakfast so I had it with eggs.All I can say is WOW! This is going to be my new go to occasional decadent breakfast. Definitely a treat!Look at that perfectly crispy golden skin!! Just so crazy good! And the whole process was super simple right!
However you choose, don`t be intimidated by making Crispy Skinned Duck Breast at home! It`s just too easy & too delectable to keep in the ¨restaurant only¨ category!