5 ingredients – that’s all you need to create an amazing dish that is equally good for a simple weekday meal or a beautiful showpiece main course for your next fancy dinner party. The recipe uses duck magret or “magret de canard,” the breast of a Moulard duck raised for foie gras. The Moulard is a large bird known for its ample, fatty breast meat. Two-star Michelin chef Andre Daguin was reportedly the first to sear a magret like a steak at the Hotel de France in 1959. The impromptu recipe caught on and is now found in restaurants the world over.
A typical dish from the Perigord region of France where duck is king. The cuisine’s origins are often rustic and modest, ingredients are from the terroir which is very rich in taste and flavour: duck, walnuts, wild mushrooms, truffles, honey and wines.
2 duck breasts (magret)
2 shallots, finely diced
3 tablespoons honey (acacia honey is good)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the magret fat side up on a cutting board
With a very sharp knife, score the fat in a criss-cross pattern
Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat – do not add butter or oil
Add the duck and sear the breasts, skin side down for 6 minutes
Reduce the heat to medium low and drain most of the fat and reserve for later use
Flip the duck breasts over
Cook them for an additional 6 minutes (magret is best served medium rare)
Wrap the breasts in aluminum foil to keep warm and set aside
Add the shallots to the skillet and allow them to cook, while stirring, for about 2 minutes
Deglaze the skillet with the honey and vinegar, scraping up the browned bits as the sauce cooks
Simmer the honey vinegar glaze for 2 to 3 minutes
Season with salt and pepper
Return the duck breasts to the pan, turning them a few times to coat them evenly with the honey glaze
Carve them into thickish slices and serve them immediately garnished with some of the sweet sour sauce
Cook’s Tip: Pour the rendered duck fat into a clean container. Let it cool, refrigerate it, and save it for other culinary uses. It will keep for months and add a wonderful taste to a variety of recipes, particularly potatoes. You can also use it to sear other meats, delivering a unique, extra kick of flavor.