Wow your friends this weekend with flavourful, exotic duck breast that will only take about 30 minutes to prepare. This straightforward recipe is for crispy duck breast with a tangy, delicious sauce, reminiscent of classic Peking duck, which is still considered a delicacy. It remains one of the most famous Chinese dishes even today. However, Peking duck is still quite an undertaking, while this duck breast recipe is simple and quick.
You will need a good heavy sauté pan to cook the duck breasts. You should have one large enough to hold four breasts without them touching. Plan for one breast per person and maybe add one more for those who want an extra bite or two. This recipe has included a separate recipe for the gingered Hoisin sauce which can be made earlier. But, if you don’t have the time, simply add the required amount of ginger to a quality bottle of Hoisin sauce. .
Duck breasts (serves 4)
4 duck breasts with skin-on
About 2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tbsp. Chinese five-spice (optional)
3-4 thin sliced green onions or chives for garnish
Salt & pepper
Gingered Hoisin sauce- Makes about ½ cup
5 tbsp. soy sauce
3-4 tsp. sesame or other vegetable oil
3 tsp. rice or white vinegar
½ to 1tsp. sriracha or regular hot sauce
2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
l tbsp. molasses or brown sugar
½ tsp garlic powder (or more to taste)
1 tsp. ground ginger (or more to taste)
Prepare the duck breasts
Rinse duck breasts in cold water and pat dry well with paper towel. Any water will prevent the breasts from crisping properly. Using a sharp knife, trim any excess fat and make criss-cross slices all over the skin, taking care not to cut through to the meat. The easiest way to achieve this is to cut about three-four parallel lines lengthwise, and then cross cut several lines in the opposite direction.
If you are using the Chinese 5-spice, mix it into the oil. Remember you only need a little of this spice as it’s quite potent and lends a cinnamon type flavour. Now begin to heat the sauté pan to a medium heat. You don’t need any additional oil in the pan. Rub or brush a little of the oil mixture onto the breasts. Just a very light cover will do as the duck skin will render enough fat on its own. Sprinkle the breasts with salt & pepper.
Turn the breasts over and place in the pan, skin-side down. The fat will begin to melt out of the skin as they cook..Take care that the breasts don’t touch as this will affect the crispiness. Sizzle for about 8-10 minutes, watching to see if the layers of the skin are cooking right through. When the skin is brown and crisp, turn the breasts over and cook for another three to four minutes on the bottom. The bottom should be browned but still springy. This indicates they are now perfectly medium rare, which is how they should be served. (Overdoing them will result in an unpleasant texture).
Let all four breasts rest for a while and then slice with a sharp knife diagonally, and as thin as you can, for the best presentation. Then add the sauce generously, either by using a basting brush, or a small pitcher to pour over the duck breasts in a narrow stream. Garnish with a sprinkle of the sliced green onion or chives and serve warm.
Easy gingered Hoisin sauce
A slightly sweet and sour sauce such as this one is the perfect complement for the meaty taste and texture of duck. Simply assemble all the ingredients and whisk thoroughly until it is smooth.
If you want more sauce the recipe is easy to double. And to save time, you can make it a few days ahead keeping it covered in the fridge. But to ensure the sauce isn’t cold going on, take it out a few hours before starting the duck breasts.You can even heat it up slightly in a microwaveable dish before brushing on the duck.
Duck breast meat is hearty and rich so think of light accompaniments when you’re planning your meal. If you are serving the duck as a main dish, it goes incredibly well with a Chinese style vegetable stir fry and your favourite rice or noodles. But it delivers very well with just the sauce and a little garnish just as an appetizer Either way it’s guaranteed to become one of your favourites!