greens eggs and ham duck breast
I went mad at the City Market today and bought $40 worth of duck breasts from Greens Eggs and Ham. Then we had Sunday dinner on Saturday night, because it is getting harder and harder to pin down my eldest, age almost-16, for a weekend dinner. So we grab the opportunity to have a special dinner when we can.
On the menu tonight? Barbecued duck breast with cherries and port sauce, penne with hazelnut gremolata and roasted broccoli, and Greens Eggs and Ham salad greens with baby tomatoes, and a dijon, shallot, red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing.
The friendly lady at the Greens Eggs and Ham booth told me what to do with the duck. I married it with a recipe from the new Bon Appetit magazine for the cherry port sauce. The Penne with Hazelnut Gremolata and Roasted Broccolini came from the magazine too. Since I didn’t have broccolini, I substituted broccoli instead and cut the tops very very small. Do not be put off by the fancy title for the penne. I do not even know what Gremolata is, but I made it anyway – I had some hazelnuts in the freezer, and Italian parsley, garlic and lemon rind. It was easy, and pesto-like in taste and presentation.
Did you ever seen the Kids in the Hall episode where Bruce kept telling his mom she made ‘effing good ham? Well, this was ‘effing good duck - thanks to Greens Eggs and Ham. Thank you, thank you, Sam I am.
Barbecued Duck with Cherry Port Sauce
-adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2009
6 duck breasts
2 Tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped leeks, white part only
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups frozen pitted dark cherries, thawed
1/4 cup Port
1/4 cup honey
2 Tablespoons butter
Poke the skin of the duck breasts all over, but not too deep that you poke the meat – just the skin and first layer of fat only (this is like doing surgery). Melt the butter in a large fry pan. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Put the duck breasts on, skin side down, and cook for 15 minutes over low heat. The breasts should be simmering, not frying. Turn them over and cook for another 15 minutes. Put them in the fridge to cool down.
Strain all but 4 tablespoons of the frying pan liquid. Add the leek and cook about a minute until softened. Add the chicken broth, cherries, Port and honey and whisk on high until it turns into a glaze. Whisk in the 2 tablespoons of butter. Put aside.
Finish the duck breasts off on the barbecue until fully cooked – about 5 minutes each side. Warm up the cherry sauce again, and serve the breasts very thinly sliced, with the sauce on top.