Duck Breasts a la D'Artagnan
This flavorful duck dish offers three versions of sauce; use figs or blackberries for a fruity finish or add truffle butter for a luscious accompaniment. This recipe comes from Ariane Daguin, owner of D'Artagnan, a gourmet specialty food company.
Photography: Rob Tannenbaum
Source: The Martha Stewart Show, January 2012
For the Duck Breast
- 4 (8-ounce) Rohan or Peking duck breasts
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 cup red wine, preferably Madrian
- 1/2 cup Armagnac
- 2 tablespoons store-bought duck-and-veal demi-glace
For the Fig or Plum Version
- 1 1/2 to 2 figs or plums, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fig or plum jam
For the Blackberry Version
- 1 tablespoon blackberry jam
- 1/2 cup plus 12 blackberries
For the Truffle Version
- 2 tablespoon truffle butter
Using a sharp knife, score the skin side of each breast in a cross-hatch pattern, making the squares as small as possible without cutting into the meat of the breast. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add duck breasts to skillet, skin-side down, and reduce heat to medium. Cook, removing fat from pan as necessary, until skin is crisp, about 6 minutes. Turn, and cook until firm, about 3 minutes more. Transfer duck breasts to a cutting board and tent with parchment paper-lined aluminum foil and let rest.
Drain all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet and place over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until translucent; add wine and cook until reduced by half. Remove skillet from heat and add Armagnac; carefully ignite to flambe. Add demi-glace and figs or plums and jam, if making fig or plum version; cook until reduced by half. Season sauce with salt and pepper and stir in blackberry jam and 1/2 cup blackberries for blackberry version or truffle butter for truffle version.
Slice each duck breast crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and fan out on each of 4 plates. Drizzle sauce over duck and serve immediately. If making blackberry version, garnish with remaining blackberries.