Duck anyone?

DuckMy friend asked me, have you ever made duck?  Only a few times and it never came out quite right.  He went into a short diatribe on how he made the most amazing duck over the weekend.  Jessica said to me, you should make duck, we all like it.  Hmmm.

I had posted about this cookbook before, Vintage.  What I like about this book is two things.  One is that each recipe is a meal.  The second is that his recipes are truly fresh and creative, like no other I have seen.  The recipes aren't exactly simple but this particular one wasn't that hard and quite delicious.

Seared Duck Breast, Moroccan Style.  There are 5 things to make for this meal.  Red Wine Marinade (for the duck) Spinach and Goat cheese Salad, Sesame Dressing, Couscous and Tomato Ginger Jam. 

Duck is easier than I thought particularly when they are just breasts.  Start with the marinade and marinade the breasts for at least an hour.   You could probably marinade them all day if you wanted but not overnight.  Too much.  This recipe if for 4 people ( 4 duck breasts but I doubled this recipe and made it for 8 since we have 7 for dinner)

Red Wine Marinade:
3/4 cup red wine
3 T. sherry vinegar
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 t. black pepper
1/4 t. dried thyme
1 t. fresh rosemary
1 T. fresh oregano
1 t. whole fennel seeds
1 T. sugar

Mix this together, set the duck in it, skin side down.  Score the the duck first.  I made 3 large slits across the fat side before I set this in the marinade. 

Then I made the salad. 

4 cups of Spinach
1/4 cup red onion sliced very thin
1 small orange cut into small wedges
20 tsp. size chunks of goat cheese
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
(they called for mint with this salad - 2 T. mint leaves - I opted out)

Sesame Dressing:

3 T. red wine vinegar
3 T. seasoned rice vinegar
2 T. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. whole fennel seed
1 T. lightly toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup light olive oil
(again they called for 1 T. crushed mint)

Mix this all together.  This dressing could and salad could be fine solo any night of the week.  So good.  When I served the salad, I mixed the greens and onions.  I put a handful of oranges on top of the salad and dollops of goat cheese and then sprinkled it with toasted sesame seeds. 

Tomato Ginger Jam. 
This was the best part that I could keep in the refrigerator and serve with anything

1  2 1/2 lb can tomatoes and their juice
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 lemon quartered and sliced thin with the skin on
1/2 cup thinly sliced candied ginger
1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
pinch of cayenne
juice of 1/2 lemon

Put all of this together in a stainless steel saucepan, bring to a boil and then down to a medium heat.  Let this mixture hang out on the stove until it is thin.  Give it a stir every 10 minutes or so.  Easy and a winner.  Took about an hour.

Couscous.  I didn't do a great job with this part but I am going to give the what I should do to make it taste good and not bland. 

2 cup of vegetable broth or chicken broth
4 T. olive oil
1/4 t. kosher salt
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 t. lemon zest
3/4 cup 1/4 inch pieces zucchini
1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (preferably ones that have been soaked in hot water or in oil)
5 T.almond slivers, toasted
1 T. unsalted butter

In a small saucepan,  with 3 T. olive oil, saute the zucchini and lemon zest for about 5 minutes or so.  Just until the zucchini is soft. 

Boil the water and rest of the olive oil in a small saucepan, add the couscous and zucchini, stir.  Bring the water back to a boil, put the lid on and take off the heat.  Let it sit for about 2 minutes and then stir in the butter, sun dried tomatoes and almonds.  Put the top back on.  When I served this, I used a small round custard holder and filled it with the couscous.  Then I flipped it on to the plate so the couscous was shaped in a round sphere. 

Preheat the oven to 450 before making the duck. 

In a nonstick pan, at a very high heat, put in the duck breasts, skin side down for about 5-6 minutes.  If it appears to be too hot and fat is popping out everywhere, lower the temperature to medium.  I did.  The skin side should be crispy after about 5-6 minutes.  Then put in the oven at 450 to finish.  It took longer than I thought but our duck breasts were quite large.  The temperature internally should be around 160 for rare. 

Then, take out the duck and let is sit for a few minutes to set.

On the plate I put the salad, then the couscous, then then the duck and then the tomato jam.  The flavors together really work.  Sounds like a lot of work but the whole thing took less than an hour.  A definite make again..

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Joanne Wilson Joanne Wilson loves food, books, and music. She lives in New York City. Her husband Fred and children Jessica, Emily, and Josh are bloggers too. More »

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