Cumin-Scented Duck Breasts with Peach Succotash


To showcase the firmer fruit from his two adopted Elberta trees, Stuart Brioza created this succotash of corn, bell peppers and—in place of the usual lima beans—peaches. The succotash would be delicious with grilled lamb or swordfish as well as the duck breasts here.

Total Time:
1 hr


  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds

  • 4 White Pekin duck breasts (8 ounces each)

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 ears of corn (unshucked)

  • 1 large red bell pepper

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 large peaches—halved, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • Cilantro sprigs, for garnish


  1. In a skillet, toast the cumin seeds over high heat just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool completely. Coarsely grind the seeds.

  2. Using a sharp paring knife, score the skin of the duck breast in a shallow crosshatch pattern, spacing the cuts about 1/2 inch apart. Rub the duck breasts with the cumin and season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Arrange the corn and bell pepper on a rimmed baking sheet and broil 8 inches from the heat, turning, until charred, 8 minutes. Transfer the bell pepper to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 10 minutes.

  4. Shuck the corn. Using a serrated knife, cut the kernels from the cobs. Peel, core and finely chop the bell pepper.

  5. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the corn, bell pepper, peaches and water and season with salt and pepper. Cook over high heat, stirring, until the peaches are just softened, about 5 minutes.

  6. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil. Add the duck breasts skin side down and cook over low heat until the skin is deeply browned, about 15 minutes; spoon off the fat as it accumulates in the pan. Turn the duck breasts over and cook for 8 minutes longer for medium. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

  7. Thinly slice the duck breasts crosswise and arrange the slices on plates. Spoon the succotash alongside, garnish with the cilantro sprigs and serve.

Make Ahead

The peach succotash can be covered and refrigerated overnight. Rewarm before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Lightly gamey duck is usually paired with Pinot Noir, but it can also go well with a white wine if the wine is full-bodied and savory enough—qualities that will also make it a good partner for Brioza's peach succotash. Try a dry Vouvray.

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