I love duck in all its fatty, succulent, gamey glory.
One of my favorite cold-weather comfort dishes is a cast iron skillet-seared magret de canard (French for “duck breast”).
Magret de canard is the breast meat of Moulard ducks raised for foie gras; their breasts are thick and meaty, with a “beefy” taste and texture. Think of it as “duck steak”.
A beautiful white coat of fat contributes to its savory flavor. It’s also incredibly fast and easy to cook. My favorite purveyor for locally produced (at an upstate New York farm) magret duck breast is D’Artagnan, an advocate of natural and sustainable farming practices, to which I have local access, but you can also order online.
Skillet-Seared Magret de Canard with Shallot Sauce
Serves 2 to 4
1 pound fresh magret duck breast (*I like D’Artagnan)
Celtic sea salt to taste
2-3 shallots, finely minced
Season duck breast with Celtic sea salt on both sides. Score the fat.
Over medium-high heat, sear the magret on its fatty side first, in a cast iron skillet for 1-1/2 minutes (be careful to brown, not burn!). Turn breast over and sear another 1-1/2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low. Cook the duck breast on its fatty side—covered—for 5 minutes. Flip to its other side, and cook another 5 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 140 to 145 degrees.
Remove duck breast from the skillet and let rest 15-20 minutes. Slice.
Note: During cooking, the magret will release a lot of fat. I save this fat in a small glass jar, refrigerate it, and use as a cooking fat.
Leave 2-3 tablespoons of rendered duck fat in the pan. Heat the cast iron skillet over medium-low heat and add minced shallots. Cook until browned, about 3-4 minutes.
Pour shallot sauce over sliced duck breast. Serve immediately.