How to Sear a Duck Breast

December 30, 2013  •  Meat & Poultry, Salads, Technique

duck breast skin scoredThere is nothing glamorous or exciting about this post today – that is, of course, unless you’d like to serve your friends an upscale dish like sliced duck breast over mixed greens with a walnut vinaigrette. Duck alludes many cooks because it seems exotic and perhaps you just don’t know how to cook it. Well, it’s actually one of the simplest meats to prepare so let me walk you through the steps. You start by scoring the fat on the top of the breasts like I’ve done in the picture above – just be sure you don’t cut into the meat. Scoring keeps the fat layer from shrinking and causing your breast to curl while you cook breast searing skinNext place the duck breasts skin side down into a very hot, dry skillet. The fat will start rendering very quickly from the duck, so there is no need to add additional fat. Keep it on high for a couple of minutes, but then turn it down to medium to medium-low and just let it keep cooking until that fat layer is just about completely rendered out – you might want to spoon out or drain out some of the fat on the way just so it’s not splattering too breast seared crispyWhen you are satisfied that the fat layer has rendered completely, flip the duck breasts over and remove the pan from the heat. Let the duck sit in the hot pan for just another minute or two to sear the second side, but take care not to leave it too long or you’ll overcook the meat. Remove the meat to a cutting board and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing. Serve the sliced duck over a nice salad and your guests will be thrilled and impressed!

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Duck Breast Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4
  • ½ cup walnut oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 8 cups baby salad greens
  • 2 pears, peeled and diced small
  • 4 duck breasts, seared crispy, rested, and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)
  1. Combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and syrup in a small covered container and shake well to emulsify. Adjust seasonings to taste. Toss the salad greens with the desired amount of dressing and divide between 4 salad plates. Top each plate with some of the diced pear, one of the sliced duck breasts, and walnuts.



One Comment  •  Comments Feed

  1. Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) says:

    I’ve made duck breast exactly once and was very pleased with the results. So why don’t I make it more often???? Great recipe Michele. Just wanted to stop by and wish you a Happy New Year.

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