ROASTED DUCK BRUSCHETTA WITH BLACKBERRY SAUCE

Duck seems an extraordinarily elegant ingredient for most home cooks. For its "wow" punch it rates a ten out of ten.  It is simple to prepare and can be done hours in advance. The sauce may be made with frozen blackberries and no one would know the difference. For even more versatility, turn this "beginning" into a "small plate" by adding more frisee, a splash of olive oil and using the blackberry sauce as the acid for the salad. The bruschetta becomes the croutons and adds a crunch to the melt-in-your-mouth duck breast slices. 

Nota bene: Duck is a red meat, and therefore, the lower cooking temperature poses little threat of bacteria and makes the duck juicier and more tender than when it is cooked to medium or medium-well. For anyone who has not tried duck, this is the perfect jumping off preparation. A little sweet, a little savory, and oh, so delicious!

Ingredients 

  • 8 ounces duck breast

  • 1/2 of a large orange, zest and juice

  • 1/2 shallot, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup port

  • 3/4 cup fresh blackberries

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 1 fresh baguette, sliced

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Several sprigs of frisee or arugula

  • Maldon Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Cross hatch score the fat of the duck breast and let it sit out for 30 minutes before cooking. Season both sides with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. 

2. Place a small but heavy skillet over high heat. After two minutes, add the duck breast skin side down first. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the burner, pour off fat, and cook skin side down for an additional 4-5 minutes. Again, pour off any fat. Depending on the thickness of the breast, turn over and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Medium rare is best—135 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the skillet. Add the shallot and sauté over medium heat until softened. Add the port and bring to a boil to deglaze and scrape up bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the orange juice, zest, blackberries, and balsamic vinegar. Lower the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half and the berries are warm and soft. Remove from heat. Season with freshly ground pepper and the Maldon sea salt. 

4. Rub the baguette slices with the extra virgin olive oil and toast in a 350 degree oven until golden.

5. Slice the duck breast into medallions that fit on baguette slices. Place a piece of frisee on the baguette followed by a duck medallion. Drizzle a small amount of the berry sauce on top. 

Serves 8