Duck With Fennel
Duck breasts are not an item we often pop into our shopping trolley, but they should be! I like my duck like I have my steak – medium. If you prefer it done a little more, simply keep it on the heat longer - or pop it into a preheated oven (160°C) for 10-15 minutes after searing to cook through. This is a quick dish to whip up that looks ever-so-posh if you take the time to plate it nicely..
1 whole fennel bulb
6 small, round shallots
2 TB white wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 duck breasts, skin-on and deboned
steamed greens or potatoes, to serve on the side
Use a sharp knife to slice the fennel bulb into several 5-6mm slices. Reserve the fronds for garnish. Peel and cut the shallots in quarters keeping the root in tact so each piece maintains its shape.
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large, wide- bottomed pan and cook the fennel until golden and caramelised on both sides (do so in batches if necessary). Set aside to keep warm. Do the same with the onions, cooking them until caramelised on the flat sides, then deglaze the pan with the white wine vinegar. Add a small dash of water and reduce the heat, cooking until the liquid has reduced and the onions have sufficiently softened. Set aside to keep warm.
In the meantime, make several shallow incisions into the skin of the duck breasts and season both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a clean pan with a generous drizzle of olive oil and sear the duck breasts skin-side down until the skin is golden and crispy. Turn and cook the underside and continue to cook until the duck is done to your liking (see headnote).
Serve the duck breast on top of the warm fennel sliced and acidic onions. Garnish with the reserved fennel fronds.
Steamed greens or boiled potatoes would be great accompanying side dishes.