Pan roasted duck breast over persimmon panzanella

Duck breast is incredibly easy to make at home! The meat is perfectly medium rare, the skin is nice and crispy. Duck is rich, so I’ve paired it here with a persimmon panzanella salad. While duck is easy, it does require some technique to properly render the skin fat. Click the instagram icon below for a video walk through!

Serves 2

  • 2 duck breasts 

For the dressing

  • 1/2 shallot, finely minced
  • Lots of salt 
  • 1 tbs warm water
  • 1 tbs sherry vinegar 
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard 
  • ¼ cup olive oil oil 
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme 

For the salad

  • 6 oz rustic loaf bread, cut into 1 inch chunks 
  • 2 tbs olive oil (if you are not using your rendered duck fat for anything else, you can use that instead here). 
  • ½ persimmon, sliced thinly. 
  • ⅓-½ head butter lettuce, loosely chopped 
  • ½ cup radicchio, loosely chopped. 
  • ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced.
  • 1 handful mint leaves. 
  • Lots of salt and black pepper

For the duck

  1. At least 24 hours prior to cooking your duck, pat dry, generously salt both sides, and put on a rack over a baking sheet in the fridge, skin side up, uncovered.
  2. The next day, remove your duck from the fridge and quickly cut a crosshatch pattern into the skin. These should be shallow cuts, you do not want to expose the duck. 
  3. Place your cold duck, skin side down, in a carbon steel or stainless steel pan and turn your burner to low (do not oil or preheat the pan). 
  4. Place a pot on top of the duck to help them lay flat. 
  5. Let the ducks gently render out fat until the skin is much thinner, browned, and the ducks are swimming in a pool of their own fat. This should take about 10 minutes. Do NOT flip the ducks, you are looking to render the fat only, and keep the duck entirely raw. 
  6. Take out, let cool, and set aside. If you will be cooking the ducks in more than an hour, put on a plate in the fridge loosely covered with seran wrap. 

*You can complete this whole process up to 24 hours before you want to eat the duck. 

  1. 15 minutes before you are ready to eat, turn your oven broiler on. 
  2. Once hot, place your ducks, skin side up, on an oven safe pan and broil for 4-10 minutes, until the duck reaches an internal temp of 130. You can overcook this very quickly, so check at the 4 minute mark and adjust for there. 
  3. Let rest for 2-3 minutes, this should bring the temp up to 135, which will be the perfect medium rare. I do not recommend cooking duck to anything above medium. 

For the duck

  1. Add shallot, salt, warm water, and vinegar to a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. 
  2. Add the honey, lemon juice, mustard, thyme, oil, black pepper, and whisk. 
  3. Taste for seasoning. Adjust as needed.

For the salad

  1. Preheat your oven to 350
  2. In a large bowl, coat your bread in oil, salt, and pepper 
  3. Bake the bread on a large sheet pan for 10-15 minutes. They should be toasty but not as crunchy as a crouton. 
  4. Wash your lettuce and radicchio and dry.
  5. Add your onions to a large bowl and salt generously (this will hold your salad). 
  6. Add your persimmons to the onion bowl. 
  7. Add your bread to the bowl and pour enough dressing over to coat. Let sit for 4 minutes. 
  8. Add your lettuce, radicchio, and mint and toss. If needed, add more dressing.