This must be the recipe with the least amount of ingredients, yet it is simply – melt in the mouth – delicious. Duck is the most popular meat in the Dordogne as we are the “duck farm” of France. There are way more ducks than people here, way more. Often duck is served covered in rich sauces but to really appreciate the true deliciousness, (is there such a word?), the best way to eat it is as simple as possible, salt and pepper, no butter or oil even, and ideally to grill the breasts for the final few minutes on a BBQ.
This is the perfect way to cook a duck breast. It involves a 2 stage cooking, firstly in a skillet on the stove top then on the BBQ grill, gas or coals. This way ensures that most of the fat is rendered in the pan and you can then reserve it for another use, such as pommes de terre sarladaise – yum! And you avoid being suffocated by smoke and dealing with sky high fire flare ups that would occur if you cook it 100% on the BBQ.
2 large duck breasts (magrets de canard) about 350 g / 12 oz each
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the duck breasts fat side up on a board or plate
With a very sharp knife, score the fat in a crisscross pattern, do not cut into the meat
Season the duck on both sides, rubbing the coarse salt nicely into the cuts
Heat the BBQ grill to medium high heat
Place the duck breasts, skin side down in a large, cold skillet
Switch the heat to medium low and cook for 5 minutes, uncovered
Every now and then, drain off the fat into a bowl
Turn and cook meat side down for 1 minute
Reserve the duck fat
Transfer the duck breasts to the grill and cook, uncovered, for 5 to 7 minutes per side for medium rare or about 7 to 8 for medium
Allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting
Slice the duck breasts into 1 cm / 1/2 inch thick slices and divide between the plates