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Duck Breast with Pomegranate Glaze

Pomegranate concentrate is available in the beverage section of Middle Eastern, Asian and Latin markets, as well as some gourmet supermarkets. Duck skin is rather fatty, so here the breasts are panfried prior to grilling to render some of the fat. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 blood oranges or 2 large navel oranges 
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate concentrate  
  • 6 Tbs. light agave syrup or honey  
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar 
  • Coarse salt, to taste  
  • 4 boneless, skin-on Muscovy or Pekin duck breasts, each 6 to 8 oz. 
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste  
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional) 

Directions:

Using a knife, peel the oranges and, holding each orange over a colander set in a bowl, segment them. Leave the segments in the colander to drain; reserve the juice.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 4 Tbs. of the reserved orange juice, the pomegranate concentrate, agave syrup, vinegar and a pinch of salt. Simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 10 to 15 minutes.

Pat the duck breasts dry with paper towels. Using a boning knife, trim the breasts to a uniform size, cutting away any excess fatty skin. Score the skin in a crosshatch pattern, without cutting into the flesh, at 1/2-inch intervals. Remove the tenderloins; discard or reserve for another use. Trim away any sinew from the undersides of the breasts. Generously season the breasts with salt and pepper.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill.

Preheat a cast-iron grill pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat until smoking, 5 to 10 minutes. Working in batches, place the duck breasts, skin side down, in the preheated pan and cook until the fat begins to render, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the breasts to a shallow dish; reserve the rendered fat for another use. Pour half the pomegranate glaze over the duck and turn to coat. Keep the remaining glaze warm.

Place the duck on the grill, skin side down, directly over medium-high heat. Grill, turning once, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium, or until done to your liking. Transfer the duck to a platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir the orange segments and pomegranate seeds into the reserved glaze in the saucepan. Slice the duck breasts across the grain on the bias. Fan out the slices on individual plates and spoon the glaze on top. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma On the Grill, by Willie Cooper (Oxmoor House, 2009).