Roasted Breast of Duck in a Salt Crust with Exotic Fruit
Duck always combines well with fruit, but Pierre Landry’s version adds an exotic touch. Cooked inside a salt crust, the duck emerges rare but not at all salty. Slices of duck are molded with sauteed tropical fruits, then surrounded by a sauce that includes raspberry vinegar and rich duck stock. Nira, a Japanese vegetable that looks like green onions and tastes somewhat like leeks or garlic greens, is used to add a bright touch of green.
- Duck Breasts - 4, skin on, boneless
- Egg Whites - 3
- Coarse sea salt - 1 pound
- Thyme Sprigs - 2, stemmed and chopped
- Lightly Salted Butter - 3 tablespoons
- Confectioner’s Sugar - 1/3 cup
- Mango - 1, diced large and chilled
- Papaya - 1, diced large and chilled
- Pineapple - 1/2, diced large and chilled
- Guava - 3, diced large and chilled
- Lightly Salted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Fresh nira - 16 ounces (alt. leeks or garlic greens)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Honey - 2 tablespoons
- Raspberry Vinegar - 1/4 cup
- Duck Stock - 1 cup
To prepare the duck: Preheat the broiler to high. Clean the breasts of duck and score the skin to keep them from curling. Mix the sea salt and the egg white into a loose paste; add the thyme. Heat a large, non-stick, ovenproof saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the breasts on the skin side until nicely browned. Place the breasts in a baking pan and cover with the salt crust. Broil for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to rest; keep warm.
To prepare the fruit: Melt the butter in a medium non-stick saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat and stir in the sugar. When the mixture begins to turn brown, add the fruit and saute until caramelized and slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Put the fruit in a bowl; reserve the pan with the fruit juices.
To prepare the nira: Saute the nira with the butter in a saucepan until softened, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
To make the sauce: Put the honey in the reserved fruit pan and place over medium-high heat. Cook until lightly caramelized. Add the raspberry vinegar and reduce by half. Add the duck stock and reduce by one-third. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Keep warm.
To serve: Remove the salt coating completely from the duck breasts. Slice the breasts diagonally into thin strips. Place a 5-inch ring mold in the center of each warmed serving plate and pack with sauteed fruit. Press down gently. Cover the top of the fruit with a layer of duck strips. Divide the nira among the molds, placing a little in the center of each. Lift the ring molds. Spoon sauce around the fruit.