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Pan Roasting Duck Breasts

Cook duck breasts to perfection using a technique called pan-roasting. First the duck is seared in a fry pan on the stovetop, then it’s transferred to the oven to finish cooking.

  • Score the skin
    Using a sharp knife, make a series of parallel cuts through the skin but not into the flesh. Make a second set of cuts at right angles to the first. This scoring will help the fat render so the skin becomes crisp.

  • Sear the breasts, skin side down
    Season the breasts with salt and pepper. Heat a large, heavy ovenproof fry pan over high heat until very hot. Place the breasts, skin side down, in the pan and use a spatula to press them firmly into the hot pan.

  • Spoon off the fat
    Sear for 2 minutes, tilting the pan and spooning out the accumulated fat.

  • Pan-roast the breasts
    Place the pan in a preheated 400°F oven and roast for 6 minutes. Using tongs, turn the breasts over and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of each breast registers 150°F.

    Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Tools & Techniques (Gold Street Press, 2008).