April 6, 2008

Duck Breast with Mushrooms, Dried Apricots and Almonds

Pan-Grilled Duck Breast with Mushrooms, Dried Apricots and Almonds
from The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook

1/2 pound fresh trumpet mushrooms, quartered
1 boneless duck breast
coarse salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 TBSP butter
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup diced dried apricots
1 large shallot, chopped
1 TBSP lemon juice
15 whole blanched almonds
1 TBSP minced fresh chives

About 1 hour before serving, rinse duck breast and pat dry. Trim of excess fat. Score the skin in a cross-hatch pattern without piercing the flesh. Sprinkle the fat side generously with salt and half the pepper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Set a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp of butter and duck breast, flesh side down, and sear well, about 2 minutes. Add 2 TBSP stock to deglaze the pan and boil until thick. Turn the duck over, reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly cook the duck breast, fat side down, without turning, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large straight-sided skillet set over medium-high heat, sear the mushrooms, stirring until you hear them squeak, about 30 seconds. Add the apricots, shallots and remaining butter and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add half the stock and simmer until mushrooms are just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Turn the duck breast over and finish cooking on the flesh side. To test for doneness, use your thumb and finger to pinch the flesh. If it springs back quickly, it is rare. Remove to side dish, cover with foil, and allow to rest at least 5 minutes. [Note: For rare this took about an additional 7 minutes.]

Pour off all the fat from the pan. Deglaze with the remaining stock. Scrape the mushroom mixture into the pan and bring to a boil. Heighten the flavor with the lemon juice and correct seasoning, if desired. Fold in the almonds and chives. Serve at once with duck.

Notes: The original recipe called for chanterelles but I ended up with royal trumpet mushrooms because they were fresh instead of dried. Other wild mushrooms that were recommended included oyster or porcini. The trumpet mushrooms were much larger, so had to be quartered prior to cooking. The directions for the chanterelles includes: cleaning them early in the day by dropping into boiling salted water for 2 to 3 seconds and then dipping into cold water before draining, wrapping in paper towels and stashing in the 'fridge. I took none of those steps with regard to the trumpet mushrooms.

Also, I felt the salt was over-pronounced in the dish and would likely use it only sparingly in the initial seasoning if I were to make this in the future, which I probably will because it was quite good.

Posted by Jennifer at April 6, 2008 2:15 PM | TrackBack

This dish was quite delicious, though I'd agree that the duck itself ended up being a wee bit too salty, probably because of the salt added in the first step. It was still good, but the salt flavor was definitely noticeable, especially when a bite of duck was eaten by itself. The mushroom sauce was great, with the flavors of the mushrooms and the dried apricots blending nicely, and the almonds adding an interesting difference in texture.

Overall, I'd say this one is a winner!

Posted by: Michael at April 6, 2008 3:50 PM
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