Crispy Duck Breast with Braised Fennel

2duck breasts
Salt and pepper, to taste
2fennel bulbs with fronds (sometimescalled anise; 10 to 12 ounce each)
1-1/2 tablespoonextra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoonssalt
1/8 teaspoonsblack pepper
1/2 cupduck stock or water
Vinegar, shallot, parsley, and olive oil,to taste


1. Cut off and discard stalks from fennel bulbs, reserving fronds.

2. Chop 1 tablespoon fronds and set aside.

3. Cut bulbs lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices, leaving core intact.

4. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown fennel slices well, turning over once, 3 to 4 minutes total.

5. Reduce heat to low. Sprinkle fennel with salt and pepper, then add duck stock or water.

6. Cook, covered, until fennel is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with fennel fronds.

7.Toss with a little red wine vinegar, shallot, parsley, and olive oil.

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

2. Score the skin of each breast in a criss-cross pattern. Be careful not to cut into the flesh.

3. Lightly salt and pepper each breast to taste.

4. Cook the breasts, skin side down, over low heat in an oven safe pan. When the duck fat starts to melt, gradually turn the heat to medium-high.

5. When you start to hear sizzling, set timer for five minutes. Do not disturb the meat during this time. Your skillet may start to fill with molten duck fat. You don't want the meat to poach in the fat, which will happen if there's too much. Being careful not to burn yourself, tip the pan and spoon excess fat out of the pan as needed.

6. Cook for five minutes, until skin has browned. Flip breasts and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

7. Place the breasts skin side up in the oven and roast for 5-8 minutes, depending on thickness and desired doneness (ideally you want the duck breast to reach medium rare).

8. Remove breasts from oven and cover with foil. Let sit for up to ten minutes.

9. Slice thin pieces and serve with fennel. Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Recipe and image used with permission and courtesy of Wusthof. All rights reserved. Recipe by Camas Davis, Butcher and founder of The Portland Meat Collective, Portland, OR.

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