A dish like this can be prepared in a rustic or elegant manner with the same fabulous results. The goat cheese is so creamy, it simply melts in your mouth–the perfect foil to the crunchy walnuts.
The Apple-Mango Chutney adds its complex flavors and a luscious mouth-feel, and the pan vinaigrette brings in just the right note of acid. The is a great preparation for duck, but it also works well with beef.—Charlie Trotter
4 medium duck breasts, skin on
Salt and pepper
Four 1 1/2-ounce medallions goat cheese
1 egg, lightly whisked with 2 tablespoons water
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
4 cups mesclun greens, cleaned
Gourmet or homemade fruit chutney
1/4 cup snow pea sprouts
4 teaspoons thyme leaves
To prepare the duck
1. Carefully score the fatty skin of the duck in a grid fashion, being careful not to pierce the flesh. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Place in a hot saute pan, skin side down first, and cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until the skin is golden brown and crispy and the duck is cooked medium. Remove the breasts from the pan and strain and reserve the fat. Allow the duck breasts to rest for 5 minutes before slicing into 4 pieces.
To prepare the goat-cheese medallions
1. Dip the goat cheese in the egg mixture and completely cover with the bread crumbs, making sure they are firmly attached. Place the canola oil in a preheated saute pan and add the goat cheese medallions. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
To prepare the vinaigrette
Reserve 2 tablespoons of the duck fat and place the remaining fat in a small bowl. Whisk in the red wine vinegar. Using the back side of a chef’s knife, smash 1/4 cup of the toasted walnuts into a purée. Add the nuts to the vinaigrette and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To prepare the greens
1. Place the mesclun greens and the reserved duck fat in a medium pan and quickly wilt the greens over medium heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and fold in the remaining 1 1/3 tablespoons walnuts.
1. Arrange some of the wilted greens in the center of each plate and place 4 slices of duck breast around the plate. Top with a crispy goat cheese medallion. Spoon the duck fat vinaigrette and some of the fruit chutney around the plates and sprinkle with the snow pea sprouts. Top with freshly ground black pepper.
Recipe © 1999 Ten Speed Press. All rights reserved.