Sautéed Duck Breast with Ponzu Citrus Soy

Sautéed Duck Breast with Ponzu Citrus Soy

Chef Honma demonstrates contemporary Japanese cooking at its best with his incredible sautéed duck breast recipe, using a combination of Western sautéing techniques and classic Japanese flavors such as ponzu and daikon. Follow this straightforward recipe to create a rich, bright, and sharp dish that is a customer favorite at EN Japanese Brasserie.

This dish demonstrates contemporary Japanese cooking at its best: Using Western techniques of sautéing to sear with direct radiant heat, then baking in the oven to finish with ambient heat, but sticking to tried and true Japanese flavor combinations that work perfectly together. In this case, we're talking duck breast, citrusy ponzu and grated daikon (daikon oroshi), a rich-bright-sharp triple whammy. Here's how he prepared the dish, very straightforward:

Ingredients:

  • Boneless duck breast, with skin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Daikon, grated for daikon oroshi
  • Ponzu sauce
  • Scallions, cut into "hari" (needle-like strips) for garnish

Equipment:

  • Oven-proof skillet (e.g., French carbon steel pan)
  • Oven

Instructions:

  1. Preheat Skillet and Oven:

    • Preheat an oven-proof skillet over a high flame and the oven to 400°F.
  2. Prepare the Duck Breast:

    • Score crosswise hash marks in the duck breast's skin to prevent shrinking and enhance texture.
    • Season both sides of the breast liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. Sear the Duck:

    • Once the skillet is very hot, rub the breast skin side down on the surface to release some fat.
    • Place the duck breast skin side down in the skillet and sauté until browned, observing the hash marks pop.
    • Flip and brown the meat side.
  4. Oven Cook:

    • Flip the breast skin side down again and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 7 minutes, then flip the breast and bake for another 7 minutes.
  5. Prepare Daikon Oroshi Ponzu Mixture:

    • After removing the duck to rest, keep the rendered fat in the skillet and heat over high.
    • Add daikon oroshi to the duck fat and sauté. Then, add 3-4 teaspoons of ponzu sauce, stirring until the liquid reduces.
  6. Serve:

    • Slice the duck (it will be rare), arrange on a plate, and top with the ponzu-daikon oroshi mixture. Garnish with hari cut scallions.

Techniques and Their Purposes:

  • Scoring the Duck's Skin: Enhances texture and ensures even cooking by preventing the skin from shrinking.
  • Searing Before Oven Baking: Creates a crispy skin and seals in juices, providing a base for additional flavor from the fat.
  • Oven Baking: Ensures the duck breast cooks evenly, retaining moisture and enhancing its rich flavor.
  • Daikon Oroshi and Ponzu in Duck Fat: Combining these with the duck fat creates a citrusy, flavorful sauce that complements the rich duck.
  • Resting the Duck: Allows juices to redistribute, ensuring every slice is moist and flavorful.