Seared Muscovy Duck Breasts with Black Mission Figs and Zinfandel

Served with wild rice and steamed asparagus, this dish is delightful.

Wine recommendation: Again, the recipe calls for a half-cup of Zinfandel, which makes it the natural wine to enjoy with the dish. I recommend the Murphy-Goode 2002 Snake Eyes Zin from Alexander Valley.

  • 2 boneless Muscovy duck breasts, skin scored
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1¼2 cup Zinfandel
  • 1¼2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 small shallot minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 small strip of lemon zest
  • 7 dried Black Mission figs, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon butter

Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper. Arrange the duck breasts in a baking dish, skin side up. In a bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of olive oil with vinegar, honey, scallion, 1 garlic clove, and 1 teaspoon thyme. Pour the marinade over the duck breasts and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, turning after 2 hours.

Bring duck breasts out of the refrigerator and prepare sauce. In a medium saucepan, combine wine, broth, shallot, the remaining garlic and thyme, sugar and lemon zest. Bring to a boil and add the figs. Reduce the heat to low, covering and simmering figs until they are just soft, about 25 minutes. Discard the zest.

Puree half of the fig mixture in a blender, and then return to the saucepan. Swirl in butter and keep warm.

Remove the duck from the marinade; pat dry. In a large skillet, heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the duck to the skillet, skin side down, and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn; reduce the heat to medium and cook until medium rare, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes. Thinly slice duck on the diagonal and serve with the fig sauce.

Published on July 6, 2010