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Christmas Presents (For me) - Five Spiced Duck Breast and Miso Ginger Polenta

I’m a sucker for duck. But aside from Janssens, it’s not readily available in our local supermarkets.

Then I found D’Artagnan - a purveyor of all high-end proteins.  And the duck I get from them is always superior. Duck also lends itself to Asian flavors, which I always enjoy.

Polenta, on the other hand, is typically served with Italian flavors, but does very well here with the duck.


INGREDIENTS

For the duck:

4 9-ounce duck breasts

2 tablespoons kosher salt

Maldon salt to taste

4 tablespoons five-spice seasoning

16 thyme sprigs

1 pound broccoli cut into florets

6 garlic cloves, crushed

4 tablespoons butter

Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste


METHOD

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lay the duck breasts skin side down on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to trim off the excess skin so that the remaining skin is the same shape as the breast. Reserve the trimmings for cooking.

Lightly score the skins of the duck breasts using a sharp paring knife to score the skin diagonally ½ to ⅓ inches apart down the skin. Then rotate the breasts 90 degrees and score again intersecting the previous lines to make a crosshatched pattern.

Sprinkle salt and five-spice onto a sheet tray or baking pan. Lay the duck breasts skin side up into the pan. Season heavily with more five-spice and salt and pepper to taste. Rub the duck breasts evenly in the salt and five-spice seasoning and let rest for 2 minutes before searing.

Heat a large cast-iron pan on low for 3 minutes. Lay the duck breasts in, skin side down, and gradually increase the heat to medium. Add the skin trimmings into the pan. Sear skin side down for 3 to 5 minutes or until most of the fat has rendered and the skin is golden brown, flipping the breast over occasionally. Do not cook breasts on high heat or the skin will shrink a tremendous amount and get chewy instead of crispy.

Add the thyme sprigs and garlic cloves and sauté for 1 minute.

Set the thyme, garlic, and duck skin trimmings evenly on top of the breasts with the skin side down so the thyme and garlic can absorb into the meat while roasting.

Place in the center rack of oven and roast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly springy when pressed. The internal temperature should reach 135 degrees F for medium rare.

Transfer to a sheet tray or plate to rest 8 to 10 minutes before slicing.

While the duck is resting, saute small broccoli florets in 2 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper. Set aside.


INGREDIENTS

For the polenta:

2 tbsp white miso paste

½ cup polenta

1 ounce ginger


METHOD

Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add 2 cups water, ginger, white miso paste, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Whisk to dissolve the miso paste. Bring mixture to a simmer then slowly add the polenta while whisking continuously until it thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, whisk well, and cover to keep warm.

Serve the duck slices over a bed of polenta and top with any pan drippings.

Arrange the broccoli around the polenta.




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