Pan Seared Duck Breast with Persimmon Grapefruit Sauce
5 from 5 votes
Pan searing a duck breast is the quickest and easiest way to enjoy this delightful bird. In this recipe, the duck is marinated briefly in a soy-sauce-based liquid to infuse a succulent umami. It is cooked until the skin is perfectly crisped, yet the meat remains a juicy medium rare – it’s as if you have bacon and steak in a single cut of meat. It is served with a bright, fruity puree of persimmon and grapefruit. With this combination you can create a luxurious fine dining experience in just 30 minutes.
Score the skin side of the duck breast in a 1/2-inch (1 cm) crosshatch pattern with a sharp knife. Be careful not to cut into the duck flesh. You should cut almost completely through the skin, leaving a very thin layer of it intact.
Combine Japanese sake, light soy sauce, Sichuan peppercorn, and salt in a large bowl. Stir to mix well. Add duck breast. Gently rub both sides with the marinade. Place half of the Sichuan peppercorns and one piece of ginger on the lean side of each duck breast and return the duck to the marinade, skin side down. Let marinate for 1 to 2 hours.
Combine persimmon, grapefruit juice, sugar, and shallot in a deep cup. Mix with an immersion blender until it forms a consistent slurry.
Transfer duck breasts to a plate and discard the marinade (including the dry ingredients). Dry with a paper towel.
Place duck breasts into a heavy nonstick skillet, skin side down. Turn on medium low heat.
When the duck start to sizzle, press gently with a spatula so that the skin is seared evenly. Press until the skin is set. Continue cooking until the skin renders extra fat and turns golden brown. Flip to cook the other side until the meat reaches the desired doneness. A thermometer inserted to the thickest part should read 135 F (58 C) for medium rare, 145 F (62 C) for medium, or 150 F (65 C) for medium-well. The whole cooking process usually takes 15 to 20 minutes. Immediately transfer duck breasts to a serving plate, skin side up. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 minutes. (*see footnote 1)
While resting the duck, transfer the persimmon puree to a small saucepan. Turn on medium heat. Stir occasionally. Cook until it reduces by half or reaches desired thickness. Remove from heat. Serve the sauce alongside the duck breast.
You can use the rendered duck fat to cook a quick side dish, such as sauteed potato slices or vegetables. The simplest sautee will taste phenomenal when made with duck fat. When I was serving the dish, I julienned a sweet potato and used the duck fat and a bit of butter to cook the the sweet potato over medium high heat until charred and crispy (like hash browns). Seasoned it with salt and pepper and garnished with a bit of parsley. It worked like magic.