Friday, January 15, 2010

Coriander Dusted Duck Breast with Fried Gnocchi

If you know me, you know about my obsession for eating and cooking poultry.  Chicken is a staple here at The Majestic because it is so cheap and versatile, but occasionally, I also like to cook duck, turkey, or Cornish hens as well.  Inevitably, they end up being some of my favorite creations that I prefer over beef, pork, fish, or shellfish hands down.

I first prepared this dish about a year ago as a special treat for Dan one evening.  I had received the night off work unexpectedly, and I wandered over to the grocery nearby feeling inspired to cook a gourmet meal.  Duck breasts were on sale - an oddity for sure - so i scooped up two and scoured the market for other ingredients that seemed to be calling my name.  I found some lovely pre-made gnocchi, and it was also happened to be Chanterelle season, so I bought a few of those as well, although any mushroom would do nicely.

This recipe takes some time, but the results are spectacular.  The nice thing about it is that you make use of all of the delicious fat on the duck naturally.  I'm convinced this is one of the most wonderful culinary ingredients known to man.  You can also use just about any vegetables you like in addition to the mushrooms.  Best of all, clean up is a breeze.  You should use only one skillet for the entire preparation!

Coriander Dusted Duck Breasts

2 duck breast removed from the bone and scored
1 cup orange juice, divided
1 tablespoon honey
2 dashes soy sauce
1 bay leaf
1/2 package of pre-made gnocchi, cooked if necessary according the package directions.
1/2 bunch kale, collards, or Swiss chard, cut into a rough chiffonade and blanched or steamed al dente
1 pound mushrooms
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup brandy
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Coriander powder

For the marinade:
  1. Whisk together the soy sauce, 3/4 cup orange juice and bring to simmer with bay leaf and peppercorns.
  2. Add a hand-full of salt and the honey. Stir until it is completely dissolved.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool and pour over the duck breasts in a shallow pan to marinate for an hour.
For the rest:
  1. Dust the duck breasts evenly with the Coriander and sear them, starting skin down, in a hot stainless steel skillet until the skin is golden brown and the fat is mostly rendered.
  2. Remove the duck breasts to a platter to rest.  If you like them rare to medium rare, they will be pretty much cooked at this point.  If you like them a little more, roast them in a 400˚ oven until they are cooked to your liking.
  3. Fry the gnocchi in the pan of rendered duck fat until they are golden brown.  Be sure they are as dry as possible before you being pan frying them.  Season them generously with salt and pepper and set them aside.
  4. Saut√© the mushrooms in the same pan.  There should be plenty of fat left, but if not, add a little olive oil.  Add the shallot and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.  Remove the mushrooms.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the brandy.
  6. Add the remaining 1/4 cup orange juice and reduced the liquid by half.
  7. Add the gnocchi, mushrooms and greens back to the pan with the sauce and warm everything through.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.
  8. Slice the duck breasts just before you serve them and arrange them on top of the gnocchi, mushrooms, and greens on a warmed platter.
With wine:  We drank a delicious Oregon Pinot Noir made by Brick House from the 2005 vintage.  The wine has lovely spicy French Oak notes that match the Coriander quite nicely, and I like the bright acidity of light Oregon Pinot Noirs to cut the rich earthy flavor of Duck.  If you can't find this wine, Willakenzie's offerings are also quite good and I would also recommend Lange as well at a similar price point.  If money is no object, spring for a beautiful red Burgundy or a top quality Barolo or Barberesco from Piedmont.

Bon appetit!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your duck recipe with us. It looks like it was worth the wait!