Duck Breast a la Pascal Perfect

Chefs, Cooking, Recipes, Restaurants By Apr 03, 2011

Chef-Restaurateur Pascal Olhats cooks duck breasts to perfection. He sears them stove-top, then finishes them off in the oven. Watch the video to see his secrets.

During Timothy J. Clark’s watercolor exhibit at Sherman Gardens (through April 11), Pascal will be serving an irresistible duck breast dish as part of his art-fusion menu at Cafe Jardin.
For the video shot in my kitchen, he pairs his perfect duck breasts with caramelized pears and endive. Oh, and a little fresh ginger. Delectable.

Pascal’s Duck Breasts with Ginger, Caramelized Pears and Endive
2 boned, skin-on duck breasts, membrane on lower part of meaty side removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 red Anjou pear, ripe but not swishy, cored, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 Belgian endives, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
Balsamic-Port Reduction, see cook’s notes
Cook’s notes: To make balsamic glaze, combine 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup Port in small saucepan. Boil on medium-high heat until reduced by about two-thirds and syrupy. Cool.

1. Score duck skin at 3/4-inch intervals. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Heat a dry, medium-sized, heavy skillet or sauté pan on high heat until very hot. Add breasts skin-side side down. Reduce heat to medium and render fat. After about 2 minutes, start spooning fat from pan over the breasts; keep spooning fat over breasts for about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn breasts, transfer to small baking dish and place in preheated oven. (Do not wash pan; you need the fat and pan to cook the pear mixture.) Roast breasts about 10 minutes for medium rare. Internal temperature should be about 125 to 130 degrees.

3. Remove pan from oven. Allow it to rest 5 minutes. Cut into slices on the diagonal.

4. Meanwhile prepare the pear mixture: Return skillet with duck fat to medium-high heat. Add pear and cook, tossing occasionally, until nicely caramelized. Add endive and cook until starting to soften, tossing occasionally. Add garlic, shallot and ginger; cook about 1 minute.

5. Divide pear mixture between two dinner plates. Place sliced duck next to mound of pear mixture. Drizzle duck with a little Balsamic-Pork Reduction. Serve.

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