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Caramelized Duck Breast with
Niçoise Olives and Lemon Confit



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La Belle Cuisine


Caramelized Duck Breast with
Niçoise Olives and Lemon Confit

Great American Food

by Charlie Palmer with Judith Choate,
1996, Random House


“You might want to serve this duck over a steamed grain such as
couscous, or even mashed white or sweet potatoes, or better yet,
accompanied by Butternut Squash Flan."

2 pounds duck bones
1 1/2 cups red wine
2 cups mirepoix *
1 Sachet
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups veal stock
6 large boneless duck breasts
Coarse salt
1/2 cup sliced, pitted Niçoise olives
1/4 cup Lemon Confit (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup Tomato Oil (optional)
6 sprigs fresh Italian parsley

*Mirepoix - equal parts of finely diced carrot, onion and celery
Sachet (bouquet garni) - A bunch of parsley about the size of
your little finger, 10 peppercorns, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and
2 bay leaves tied in a cheesecloth bag

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut bones into 2-inch pieces. Place them in a small roasting pan in preheated oven and roast, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until well browned. Remove from oven and place the pan over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup red wine and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, or until the pan is deglazed and liquid has evaporated. Scrape into a medium saucepan. Add mirepoix and sauté for 4 minutes. Stir in remaining cup of wine and sachet and cook for 5 minutes. Add stocks and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for
45 minutes, or until liquid is reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Remove from heat and
strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl. Set aside.
Season duck breasts with salt and pepper. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. When very hot but not smoking, add breasts, skin side down. Cook, draining off excess fat from time to time, for 14 minutes, or until
most of the fat is rendered out and skin is nicely browned and crisp. Turn
and cook for 3 minutes, or until meat is cooked to medium and still moist
in the center. Remove to a warm platter. Cover lightly and keep warm.
Drain any excess fat from the skillet. Place over medium heat and add
olives, confit, and shallots, stirring constantly to bring up any bits of meat
stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir in reserved sauce and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped parsley and remove from heat.
Using a very sharp knife, cut the duck breasts on the bias into thin slices. Arrange one breast, slightly fanned, in the center of each of 6 warm plates. Spoon equal portions of sauce over the top. If using, drizzle some tomato
oil around the perimeter of each plate and garnish with a parsley sprig.
Serve immediately.

Suggested Wine: A fruity red wine, such as Ridge Zinfandel

A Note from Judie: All domestic ducks raised in the United States today are the descendants of either Mallard or Muscovy ducks. The best known of these is the large-breasted Long Island duck, also known as Peking duck because it is the progeny of a drake and 3 hens that arrived on a clipper ship from China in the
late 1800s.

A Note from Charlie: Since you will be cutting the breasts from whole ducks,
use the legs for confit, the bits and pieces of leftover meat in hors d’oeuvres
or appetizers, and the bones for stocks and sauces.

 Lemon Confit

Makes 1 cup

1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
8 thick-skinned, blemish-free lemons

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and the salt. Cut the two ends from the lemons. Using a very sharp paring knife, carefully peel the lemons in one continuous turn from the top to the bottom, removing the yellow rind only. Cut the rind into small batons 1 inch long by 1/4 inch wide and place in a nonreactive container. Pour the sugar-salt mixture over the rind and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 3 days.
Lightly rinse rind under cold running water, Combine with 2 cups of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and drain well. Place rind back in the saucepan. Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 2 cups of water and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat and pour into a nonreactive container to cool. When cool, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

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