Cumin and Cilantro Duck Breast
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Recipe courtesy of Cliff Crooks

Cumin Cilantro Duck Breast with Apricot Jus and Japanese Eggplant

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 55 min
  • Active: 55 min
  • Yield: 2 servings



Special equipment:
a pastry brush
  1. Heat a medium saucepan with 2 tablespoons of the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, pink peppercorns, bay leaf and 2 of the thyme sprigs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened and translucent, 5 minutes. Add the sugar and 1/2 cup of the sherry vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until reduced au sec (or until there is barely anything left), a few minutes. Add the red wine and continue to reduce until almost completely dry, 5 to 6 minutes. Add 1 cup of the demi-glace and cook for 5 minutes until reduced and slightly thickened.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the apricots and cook until softened. Strain the sauce into the saucepan with the apricots a. Add the remaining 1/2 cup demi-glace and reduce for 5 minutes until thickened. Stir in the butter and remaining 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar and remove from the heat.
  3. Score the skin on the duck in a crosshatch pattern, being careful not to cut into the meat. Season the duck on both sides with salt and pepper. Gently heat a dry cast-iron pan over low. Place the duck skin-side down into the pan and begin to slowly render the duck fat. Very slowly and gently, cook until most of the fat has rendered, about 20 minutes. Flip the duck and cook on the flesh side for 3 to 4 minutes, basting with some of the duck fat using the remaining 2 thyme sprigs, until the duck reaches an internal temperature of 130 degrees F for medium rare. Remove from the pan and allow to rest. Reserve some of the duck fat.
  4. Mix together the ground cumin and cilantro stems in a small bowl. Brush the crispy duck skin with the honey. Crust the duck with the cumin and cilantro stem mixture, making sure to firmly press onto the duck to ensure it’s nicely adhered. Slice the duck lengthwise.
  5. Season the eggplant with salt. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat with some of the reserved duck fat. Place the eggplant into the pan, flesh-side down. Cook until the flesh is golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve the duck with the apricot jus alongside the eggplant. Garnish with the toasted hazelnuts and microgreens.