Recipe courtesy of Dave Mechlowicz for Food Network Kitchen

Seared Duck Breasts with Cherry Agrodolce

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 50 min
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
Cooking crispy and tender duck breast at home is easier than it seems. The secret is scoring the skin, which helps render the fat for a crackly skin while the meat stays juicy. A cherry agrodolce adds delicious sweet and sour notes that balance out the richness of this dish. No matter how you slice this duck, I guarantee you’ll want to cook it more than once!



  1. Score the fat on the skin side of the duck breasts with a paring knife in a crisscross pattern, being careful not to pierce the flesh. Season the duck with salt and pepper on both sides and place skin-side down in a cold large skillet. Place a saute pan or other heavy pan directly on top of the duck to keep it pressed down and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the saute pan and cook until the skin is fully rendered, brown and crispy, about 15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, flip and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the duck breasts registers 135 degrees F, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes. 
  3. Stir together the vinegar, dried cherries, honey, shallots and chiles in a small saucepan over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until boiling, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. 
  4. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered duck fat from the skillet. Reserve the drained rendered duck fat for another use. Add the frozen or fresh cherries and the rosemary to the skillet and cook over high heat until the cherries soften, about 2 minutes for frozen cherries and about 4 minutes for fresh cherries. Add a splash of vinegar and scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon to deglaze the skillet. Cook until the cherries soften, about 2 minutes for frozen cherries and about 4 minutes for fresh cherries.
  5. Slice each duck breast into 1/2-inch-thick slices on the bias. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the dried cherry agrodolce sauce in the center of a plate, top with a quarter of the duck and garnish with a quarter of the duck fat-sauteed cherries. Repeat with the remaining sauce, duck and cherries and serve.