Sunday, October 5, 2014

Lavender-rubbed Duck Breast with Apricots and Sweet Onions

I was a bit suspicious of this recipe. Would the lavender overwhelm the duck? I don't really want a main course that tastes like potpourri. I don't know why I hesitated because Jerry Traunfield has never steered me wrong. The spice rub on the duck was nothing short of fantastic and the cooking method ensured a crispy skin without being overcooked ... pretty much bliss. I was less in love with the sauce (although I subbed peaches for apricot to avoid using dried), but still, it was wonderful.

One year ago: Spicy Lamb with Yogurt, Cream, and Fenugreek
Two years ago: Roasted Red and Golden Beets
Three years ago: Chana Masala
Four years ago: Linguine with Roasted Tomato and Almond Pesto
Five years ago: Blueberry Boy Bait

Lavender-rubbed Duck Breast with Apricots and Sweet Onions (from The Herbal Kitchen)

4 large boneless duck breasts, skin on
2 tbsp lavender buds, fresh or dried
1 tbsp dried coriander seeds
1 tsp dried fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large sweet onion, thickly sliced
8 fresh apricots (12 ounces), pitted and quartered, or 1 cup (4 ounces) sliced dried apricots
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 to 2 tsp sherry vinegar if needed

1. Trim excess skin from duck breasts. Score skin in diagonal grid pattern, 1" wide.
2. In a spice grinder, blend together rub ingredients. Rub both sides of duck breasts with rub.
3. Swirl olive oil in large skillet over medium-low heat. Place duck breasts skin-side down and cook for 15 minutes until fat is rendered and skin is browned.
4. Flip duck breast and cook 3 - 5 minutes more.
5. Save all but 2 tbsp of duck fat for something else. Stir in onion over medium heat until softens and browns, 3 - 4 minutes.
6. Add apricots, wine, and broth and simmer until it reduces by half and slightly thickens, 5 minutes.
7. Taste sauce and add vinegar and s&p if needed.
8. Put duck breasts skin side down on cutting board and slice 1/2" thick. Place on plates and spoon sauce on top. Serve.


  1. Amy, what did you serve this with?

    1. I had been planning on serving it with an arugula salad with sage-poached dried cherries, but we had mushrooms to use up and I went that direction instead. I think a nice green salad would go really well with it for a complete meal. Maybe couscous or rice if you want more in there.