|Lavender Honey & Orange Glazed Duck Breasts|
At present, my intrepid sous chef is only concerned about one kind of duck challenge: the Oregon Ducks’ upcoming showdown with the Stanford Cardinal. No, he is not an Oregon Duck by education or geography. In fact, since childhood he has been a USC Trojan fan (and later a USC law school graduate). But he loves the Ducks’ style of play: fast, fast and faster.I am not a football fan, but I am a fan of great recipes that can be prepared quickly during the halftime of some important college or professional football game. This week’s French Friday’s with Dorie challenge of 20-minute Glazed Duck Breasts fits the bill (pun intended). During football and Holiday seasons I’m looking for quick and easy meals and rapidly tire of home delivery and drive through. So the thought of making such a cosmopolitan dish as duck breasts was very appealing.
There are lots of waterfowl in the Palm Springs area owing to the proliferation of water features on the over 100 golf courses and the quintessential backyard pool to cool oneself during the long and arduous summers. But what is flying, quacking and generally messing sea and land locally is not necessarily found in our markets. I had once seen duck breasts at Bristol Farms in Rancho Mirage and so there the quest for the Holy Duck Grail began and ended. Of course, there were no duck breasts available at that time, but the fowlmonger did have a nice 5-pound duck that we could have. A look of consternation passed between me and my sous chef that was noticed by the fowlmonger. After some pleading, he graciously butchered the beast into two de-boned filets, two legs and some other parts that were best left with him. Had we tried this at home, Dorie’s 20-minute recipe would have likely included an unproductive hour of preparation and the risk of losing one or more digits.
As an aside, Dorie’s recipe did not specify whether the duck breast should be boneless and whether or not fresh was preferred over frozen. For ease of preparation and speed, I assume boneless is the correct choice, and I always prefer fresh to frozen, except for my margaritas and daiquiris.
|My first duck - The veggies were roasted in duck fat and unbelievably good!|
|Scored Duck Breasts - Chef & Sous Chef tied in final score!|
My two small, but expensive, duck breasts at the ready, I scanned Dorie’s recipe and was so shocked at its simplicity I had to read it again. Indeed it was simple, except for one thing. I had never “scored” a duck breast and did not know how to do it. The entreaty to my sous chef was met with sarcastic comments about “the Ducks’ score at will” and “I should stick to my own species.” When he had calmed, he demonstrated the technique on one breast and I did the other. A good, sharp knife is essential for this task and be sure not to cut into the meat in the process.
After a good scoring, the duck breasts were ready to sizzle in my Dutch Oven. Dorie mentioned that using a Dutch Ovens helped contain the splattering duck fat. This was an excellent tip that saved my stovetop from looking like a grease bomb had exploded! It’s amazing how much fat can come from two duck breasts. For those without a Dutch Oven or equivalent, a splatter screen is a good alternative.
|At the beginning|
|Flipped for the last 3 minutes in Dutch Oven|
|Duck Breasts after a 5 minute rest|
|Fresh local oranges, juicy and sweet!|
After the duck breasts had rested in the oven, it was time to apply glaze all over and return them to the Dutch Oven to warm each side for 30 seconds at low heat. The recipe calls for a glaze consisting of honey, balsamic vinegar and lime juice, simple ingredients that are normally at home. Turns out I had everything but plain honey, so I had to improvise. At hand was a lavender infused honey I use in making a cocktail I adore, the San Permis, created and served at Sapphire Restaurant in Laguna Beach. The San Permis is the perfect brunch substitute for a Mimosa and is made with lavender infused honey, cava (Spanish Sparkling), and Cointreau (orange liqueur). The drink’s combination of honey and orange liqueur inspired me to substitute orange juice for the lime juice. The combination of the lavender honey, balsamic vinegar and orange juice is a winner. It makes a great glaze: fruity, sweet and fragrant and matches well with the duck breasts slightly robust flavor. Magnifique!
|Lavender Infused Honey|
|Glazing the duck breast|
|Magnifique! Dinner in 20!|
The recipe for my inspiration, the San Permis:
|San Permis at Sapphire Restaurant Laguna Beach|
Cava (Spanish Sparkling Wine - Chilled)
1 ounce Cointreau
Lavender Infused Honey (honey, lavender, orange zest)
Coat inside of Champagne glass with lavender infused honey. Pour in Cointreau. Top off with chilled Cava.
To read other Dorista's French Friday with Dorie experiences: