Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Duck Boobylicious: Broiled Duck Breasts with Fig Miso Glaze

For a holiday meal deserving a special treat, there's nothing like duck boobs! Ha ha ha. I mean, ahem, duck breasts, of which I had 2 plump specimens in my freezer saved for such an occasion. They had actually been in the freezer for a bit too long and I was starting to worry they might be going bad. Cooking them up gave me a fancy meal free of any guilt of letting such a delicacy die the slow death of freezer burn.

Our Easter dinner of broiled duck breasts sided with rosemary roasted potatoes and lemon steamed broccoli.

I've never had good luck preparing duck before, usually overcooking it into duck leather. At $11.99 a lb, I wanted to make sure my duck turned out! When thinking about the preparation options, I decided to brine the breasts to help the meat retain as much juice as possible. A quick hot cooking method like broiling or sauteing is a good way to sear the outside of the meat and seal the juices in. Broiling with a glaze would infuse rich flavors as well as give a sweet caramelized exterior. I had my method; I just needed my ingredients.

The jar of fig paste on left was sealed with a layer of wax. How old timey!

Whenever I go on a food shopping adventure, I always like to treat myself to one or two exotic treats like the Duck Breasts I got on a visit to Mitsuwa. Easter dinner is a perfect excuse to go whole hog so I pulled out all my fancy ingredients. For the brine I needed an acidic base which immediately put me to mind of the persimmon vinegar I got on my last visit to Chicago Foods. The fig paste from Al Khayam would provide a rich tart base for the glaze. On to the prep.

Broiled Duck Breasts with a Fig Miso Glaze
approx. 1 hour of total cook and prep time with 3-4 hours for brine
  • 2 4 oz. duck breasts
  • 1 c. vinegar
  • 1 c. orange juice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. fig paste
  • 2 tsp miso
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs persimmon vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil
  • 1/4 tsp wasabi powder
  • 1/4 tsp brown sugar

Duck in the brine.

Similar to red wine vinegar, the persimmon vinegar had a very deep tart flavor, so I mixed some orange juice with the brine to sweeten the flavors. I let the duck soak submerged in the brine for 3-4 hours in the fridge.

On left, the breasts after the brine, patted dry with salt and pepper. On right, the breasts on a makeshift rack after the first 4 minutes under the broiler.

I'd never made duck breasts alone before, so I wasn't sure the proper time broiling. I did a quick google search and just clicked on the appropriate first recipe I saw which could give me a rough idea of times. The recipe states:
  1. Pat duck breasts dry and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper.
  2. Remove rack of a broiler pan, then add 1 cup water to broiler pan and replace rack. Preheat broiler with pan 5 to 6 inches from heat.
  3. Broil duck breasts, skin sides down, 4 minutes
  4. Turn over and broil until thermometer inserted horizontally into center of a breast registers 130°F (see cooks' note, below), 8 to 10 minutes more for medium-rare.
The info given for the temp the breast should read on the thermometer was very helpful. To insert my glaze into the recipe above, I proceeded with steps 1-3 and added the glaze to the top of the breasts after flipping over and placed the back in the oven to finish broiling for the last 8 minutes.

Though my duck breasts were half the size as the ones listed in that particular recipe, by following the first steps along with the temp guide lines, I was able to make sure my Duck breasts were plump, juicy and delicious.

The rich fatty meat was complimented by the deep sweet and tart flavor of the fig mixed with the vinegar and miso with an extra little kickass taste of wasabi. Sided with roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli with lemon and black caraway. The quack was loud but our bite wasn't vicious and that dinner I was cookin was duck boobylicious!


IBerg said...

Great post. I made a whole duck last week. My glaze was meh. I like your glaze much better (gotta get me some of that vinegar). I also like how you grab temps and some techniques for similar recipes, and then adapt it to what you are trying to accomplish or include.

BTW a grocery store called Fairplay local to Chicago (south side) has great deals on frozen duck sometimes (1.99 to 2.99 a lb). Their produce is good too.

Andrea said...

Yes! Fairplay. There is one on Cermack in Pilsen I think. I haven't been in, but I was riding home from the Pilsen Cermack Foods gloating about my 2 avocados for $1 when I passed the Fairplay Window advertising 3 avocados for $1. They squashed my gloat and I've been thinking about them ever since.

IBerg said...

Fairplay is awesome, but do NOT go on the first day / weekend of the month. The lines are to the back of the store. I went during the Superbowl thinking I would have the place to myself, boy was I wrong! I asked the cashier what the deal was and she said that the link cards (food stamps) come out on the first of the month and everyone stocks up (yes its that kind of place). Worth the trip though.

vsv said...

ooh we've just been brining with a salt/water concoction. my parents just gave me a bag of avocados i should give you because we're out of town this weekend! they are kind of crazy with the produce gifts.

Andrea said...

For future reference, I am available for any and all going out of town produce gifts at any time!!

tracy mitchell said...

i love reading your posts because your recipes are always so creative! thank you for writing this blog!

Andrea said...

Thanks Tracy! I really appreciate that.

Elizabeth said...

I'm so glad you mentioned where you got the duck breasts! I went to Whole Foods recently to find some (I wanted to make my own duck prosciutto), and they didn't have any - I was shocked! The duck boobies look amaaaaazzzing! I want to go on a Mitsuya adventure!!!