Seared Duck with Fig Sauce

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Seared Duck with Fig Sauce
Photo: © Quentin Bacon
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 45 mins


  • 6 boneless White Pekin duck breast halves, skin scored

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 1 scallion, minced

  • 1 teaspoon chopped oregano

  • 1 teaspoon chopped sage

  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Ground allspice

  • 1 cup Zinfandel

  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

  • 2 tablespoons minced onion

  • 4 teaspoons sugar

  • One 2-inch strip of lemon zest

  • 14 dried Mission figs, quartered


  1. Arrange the duck breasts in a large baking dish, skin side up. In a bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons each of the olive oil and vinegar with the honey, scallion, oregano, sage, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of the thyme, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of allspice. Pour the marinade over the duck breasts and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, turning after 2 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.

  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the wine, broth and onion with the remaining garlic, the sugar, zest, 1/2 teaspoon of the thyme and a pinch of allspice. Bring to a boil and add the figs. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover and simmer until the figs are just soft, about 25 minutes. Discard the zest.

  3. Puree one-third of the fig mixture in a food processor, then return to the saucepan. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of thyme and 3 tablespoons of vinegar and season with salt; keep warm.

  4. Remove the duck from the marinade; pat dry. Season lightly with salt. In each of 2 medium skillets, heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil. Add the duck to the skillets, skin side down, and cook over moderately high heat until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn, reduce the heat to moderate and cook until medium rare, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the duck on the diagonal and serve with the fig sauce

Serve With

Zucchini Cakes

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