Magret de Canard
Two of my very favourite things to eat are duck and figs, so how doubly wonderful when they can come together on the same delicious plate.
The magret, or breast of duck is extremely easy to prepare and cook. In France the ducks are large, 1 half breast will feed 2 people. In Australia, where the breasts are less generous, you will have to allow 1 half breast per person.
Firstly, buy your duck and figs. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to start, preheat the oven to 190C and carefully score the fat of each duck beast lengthways and then across the width (diagonally) to make a diamond pattern, using a sharp knife. Rub with a little olive oil and season with a little five-spice mix and sea salt flakes, rubbing it into the skin well.
Heat well a cast iron grill pan (I love my Le Creuset, a wedding present from my Russian Aunty Tamara and used constantly). When it starts to smoke place on the duck breasts (skin side down) for about 3 minutes, removing the duck fat as it collects with a spoon. Reserve this for creating the best roast potatoes ever. Turn and sear the other side for about 1 minute, then transfer to a baking tray and place in the preheated oven for 3 – 5 minutes. Remember, the Magret should always be served pink.
Remove from the oven and let them sit for 3 minutes before carving across their width (angle the knife diagonally against the thickness) into 5mm thick slices. Serve on warm plates with the figs, some crispy potatoes cooked in duck fat and a watercress salad.
Allow 2 – 3 ripe figs per person depending on the size. I love the small, sweet black figs.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- About 6 fresh bay leaves
- A few thyme branches
- A little very good balsamic vinegar or vino cotto
- Sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
Cut the figs in half, or do as I have done in the photo, making a cross at the stem end and pushing it open gently from the base to resemble a flower. Place in a shallow baking dish lightly greased with the butter and tuck the bay leaves and thyme branches in and around the figs. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar, or vino cotto, season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and place in the oven at the same temperature as above for about 15 minutes, or until you see the juice starting to ooze from the figs. Remove from the oven and serve with the duck, warm or at room temperature.