For me, duck was always this seemingly luxurious, fancy, and delicious meat that I could never get my hands on without spending a good deal of money to get it. However, I have been able to try duck a couple of times, and really enjoy the wild gameyness it provides in flavor. It can go well with sweet or savory bold flavors. I've tried it in risotto, with fruit, and even smoked. It's been delicious and a real treat every single time.
I haven't been able to find a good place to purchase fresh duck breast yet, but when I do, this is one of the recipes I want to make utilizing this fresh duck. I've made the sauce for this dish at home before, and its richness and boldness should go extremely well with the duck, which can take on the flavors really well. The sauce combines the freshness of cilantro with the body of red wine. Normally, you wouldn't think of cilantro mixing well with red wine, but by utilizing the cilantro in a pesto, you can bring the two ingredients together in ways unimaginable.
Recipe makes 4 servings.
For the Duck:
2 skin-on duck breasts
Salt and pepper to season
2 cloves of garlic
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sprig of thyme
For the Pasta and Sauce:
2 packages of linguini pasta, cooked to instructions
1/4 cup red wine (cooking red wine is best for this, but any red wine is fine)
1/4 cup button mushrooms, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons parmesean cheese
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt and pepper to season
1. Score the duck breast skins in a criss-cross fashion to create diamonds. Don't score too deep into the duck, you should not see any red meat through the score marks.
2. Smash each of the garlic cloves to release their flavor, and rub them across each of the duck breasts. Season the duck.
3. Add olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Sear the duck breasts skin side down to release their fat for about 5 minutes or until the skin is crisp. Add the sprigs of thyme and rosemary to the pan to help infuse the duck with their flavor.
4. Once the skin is crisp, flip the ducks over and quickly bake in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes. Let the duck cool and rest, then dice it into cubes. Preserve some of the rendered duck fat to be used again.
5. In a food processor, add 1 clove of garlic, the cilantro, basil, red wine vinegar, parmesean, and some salt and pepper. Puree the mixture to form a pesto, adding olive oil throughout until you have a creamy, delicious pesto.
6. Cook the pasta to package specifications and drain. Make sure to season the water!
7. Add the saved duck fat to a hot pan on medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and some salt and pepper. When the mushrooms are browned, add the garlic and the duck. Combine for about 30 seconds, then deglaze the pan with the red wine. Add the pesto you made, soy sauce, cayenne, and chicken stock.
8. Let the sauce reduce for about 2 minutes, then toss in the pasta and combine well. Serve, and garnish with fresh basil and cilantro if you wish.
This dish is a unique combination of fusion by introducing cilantro into Italian cuisine and making it shine through and take the bodied richness of red wine and pesto to the next level.
I hope you enjoyed reading this! Let me know what you think and what you would change! If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =)