Don’t forget to duck: two ways to prepare duck

A fine pair of recipes for duck breasts: pan-fried with a herb polenta, or with a carrot and ginger puree, and orange and fennel salad

Pro-Ams (ambitious home cooks) like to serve duck breasts at a dinner party

Pro-Ams (ambitious home cooks) like to serve duck breasts at a dinner party

 

VANESSA’S WAY. . . PAN-FRIED DUCK BREASTS WITH HERB POLENTA, SHERRY & RAISIN SAUCE

I use the term ‘Pro-Ams’ for ambitious home cooks. And Pro-Ams like to serve duck breasts at a dinner party. This recipe, where the polenta and sauce can be made in advance, leaves time to focus on serving perfectly cooked crisp duck breasts.

Three top tips are to trim away overhanging fat, sear the duck over a very high heat to get a crispy skin and don’t forget to leave time for your duck to rest once it is out of the oven.

GARY’S WAY. . . DUCK BREAST, CARROT AND GINGER PUREE, CURRIED PUMPKIN SEEDS AND SALAD OF ORANGE AND FENNEL

For eight years I’ve been using an Aylesbury/Peking cross-breed of duck from Ken Moffitt. He breeds them on his farm in Blacklion in Co Cavan and they are probably the best I’ve ever tasted.

Most of the duck you’ll find on Irish shop shelves are the Peking breed and are suitable for this dish. The fat rendering process, to me, is the most important element of cooking this. Get the fat right and you’re on to a winner. Key to that is scoring the fat in criss-cross fashion all over, rubbing in some sea salt and starting the duck skin down on a cold pan, nice and slowly so as to render the fat crisp right through to the flesh.

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