A big component to my joy of traveling is being able to try new food and get inspiration for new dishes at home. My husband and I aren’t big shoppers, we’d rather budget for experiences. I prefer having a memory of a lovely meal in some far off locale than fill the house with stuff. Though stuff seems to multiply anyway, not sure what happens there! A couple of decades ago I was in Scotland on the west coast. I had a meal that I remember til this day because not only was it delicious but the simple flavours just came together to be amazing. It was Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce.
Prior to this I’d never had duck. I don’t think it was something, at the time, readily available in the States. I was also not a fan of cherries as it was difficult to get really fresh cherries and the flavour that gets stuck in your mind is the awful chemical cherry flavour of ice creams or medicine. Seriously, who taste tests those? But this was a revelation.
Technique for Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce
The key to this, as is for most dishes, is fresh ingredients. I love being able to pop into my garden for the fresh herbs and veg.
Coarsely chop the cherries and finely chop the garlic. I really wish I had a cherry depitter but it’s not big deal to cut away the cherry from the pit, just slows it down a bit. Start cooking the cherry in a small pan with a bit of water.
Prep the duck by scoring the duck fat without cutting into the meat. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Place into a skillet face down to start with. Keep the heat just under medium so the fat renders down as much as possible while giving you that really nice sear. Every few minutes flip the duck so it cooks evenly without burning either side.
Add the garlic, thyme and lemon juice to the cherries. Let that simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the butter, sea salt and pepper. Stir well.
I do like a crispy duck. Cook the duck to at least medium. Allow to rest for several minutes before slicing.
Slice the duck and place over a bed of greens. Spoon over the sauce. We also roasted potatoes in duck fat. That is next level good.
Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce
Seared Duck with cherries, garlic and thyme
- 1 duck breast
- 1 1/2 cups cherries, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup water 2-3oz
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp butter
- sea salt to taste
- freshly ground pepper to taste
Cooking the Seared Duck
Score the duck fat without cutting into the meat. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
In a skillet, put the duck face down. Keep the heat just below medium so the fat renders out without burning the duck. Flip the duck every few minutes so it cooks evenly. Cook until it is at least medium in the centre. Let it rest for several minutes before slicing.
Cooking the Cherry Sauce
Sautè the cherries in the water for a few minutes.
Add the garlic, thyme and lemon juice. Simmer for a few minutes to cook the garlic.
Add the butter and stir well. Reduce the liquid by about a third.
Serving the dish
Slice the duck and arrange it over a bed of greens.
Spoon the sauce over the duck.
Serve with potatoes roasted in duck fat.