While duck is a mainstay of Asian and French cuisine, for some of us, duck is most commonly encountered on holiday tables and may even feel somewhat old-fashioned or Victorian. In recent years, this lean, flavour-rich protein has gained in everyday popularity in Ontario. The breast is the prime cut of the waterfowl, and a seared duck breast is not only divine, but one of the easiest ways to kickstart a duck habit. In Ontario, family-owned egg-to-plate duck farms are a great place to start learning more about putting a little duck on your menu.
These savoury seared duck bites are elevated by a simply divine cherry wine sauce and pair perfectly with some sparkling Ontario wine and sliced brioche bread. Don’t be fooled by this dish’s elegant appearance - it’s pretty enough for entertaining, and easy enough to treat yourself any time!
Cherry Wine Sauce: In a small saucepan, melt Ontario butter over medium heat. Cook shallot for 2 minutes or until softened. Add cherries and ginger and stir; cook for 1 minute. Add wine and sugar and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until reduced and cherries are plump. Set aside.
Spread both sides of bread slices with Ontario butter. Place a non-stick skillet over medium heat and place bread in pan, in batches if necessary. Lightly brown both sides. Set aside to cool slightly and cut into quarters.
Score duck breast along fat in a criss-cross pattern and sprinkle all over with thyme, salt and pepper. Place breast, fat side down in a cold skillet. Set heat to medium-high and cook breast for about 6 minutes or until the fat is rendered and the skin is deep brown. Turn over and cook for about 5 minutes or until medium rare. Remove to a cutting board and let stand for 2 minutes before slicing thinly.
Divide duck among brioche and top with cherry wine sauce. Dollop with creme fraiche or Ontario sour cream to serve, if using.
Top 5 Nutrients: Iron 12%DV, Vitamin A 6%DV, Vitamin B6 ≥3%DV, Manganese ≥3%DV, Calcium 2%DV
*Note: assumed all sauce is used, no creme fraiche in analysis.