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Almond-Caramelized Duck Breast with Amaretto Jus

Make an easy and impressive duck breast dish for Valentine's Day dinner with this recipe from "Home Cooking with Jean-Georges," by Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Photography: Rob Tannenbaum




  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup amaretto
  • 1/3 cup ruby port
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 (1 3/4-to 2 1/2-pound) boneless skin-on whole duck breast, halved
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 1 cup Jordan almonds, preferably all white
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature


  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a rack set in the lower third of the oven and another rack set 8 inches from the broiler.

  2. Step 2

    Place vinegar, amaretto, port, wine, and fennel in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling rapidly until syrupy and reduced to 1/3 cup, about 20 minutes.

  3. Step 3

    Meanwhile, heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Season both sides of duck breasts with salt and pepper. Add oil to pan, swirling to coat; add duck, skin-side down. Transfer pan to lowest rack in oven. Cook until skin is dark golden brown and meat feels firm (for medium-rare), 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer duck, skin-side up, to a rimmed baking sheet. Let stand 5 minutes.

  4. Step 4

    Preheat broiler to the lowest setting possible.

  5. Step 5

    Using a heavy skillet, crush almonds; spread in a thin, even layer. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon honey on the skin side of each duck breast; press into almonds to adhere. Return to baking sheet, skin-side up and fill in any gaps with remaining almonds. The whole skin side should be evenly coated.

  6. Step 6

    Transfer baking sheet to broiler and broil until almonds are toasted and sugar starts to melt, about 7 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the almonds don't burn before the sugar begins to melt. Remove from broiler and let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

  7. Step 7

    Meanwhile, reheat vinegar mixture over low heat until hot. Whisk in butter, a tablespoon at a time, until emulsified; season with salt and pepper. Divide sauce among serving plates and top each with a duck breast. Serve.

The Martha Stewart Show, February 2012