Duck is a ubiquitous meat dish in France – duck legs, duck breasts, duck fat etc. A classic French recipe which came to be some 30 years ago in restaurants, is the pan-seared, oven-finished duck magret. Just like steaks which are also red meat, you can decide how you want them – rare, medium or well done.
First time I cooked duck breast, it was completely overcooked. However, through recipes and practice, I’ve mastered the art of cooking perfect duck breast, medium, crispy, dark golden brown, and a little pink in the middle, leaving it all juicy, soft and delicious.
Remove the duck breasts from the fridge at least 15 minutes before cooking.
With a sharp knife, make a few diagonal incisions in the skin of each duck breast. Make a few more diagonal incisions to create a crisscross pattern. The cuts should not go all the way through to the flesh.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside until the duck breasts are returned to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas 4.
Put the duck breasts in a cold frying pan, skin-side down, and slowly heat the pan over medium heat.
Keep frying until the skin is crispy and you have melted out as much of the visible white fat as possible. This can take about 10 minutes.
Turn the duck breasts and fry for one more minute.
Pour the excess fat into a bowl or a dish. I keep this fat for roast potatoes and other veggies later.
Put the duck breasts in the oven and cook for 5-6 minutes for medium, rosy pink duck breasts.
Rest the duck breasts for 10 minutes before slicing to serve.
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