Sautéed Duck Breasts with Gingered Grape Sauce

4 servings

Duck and fruit are a classic combination, humans having long ago figured out that the acid in oranges, apples or pears acts as a great counterbalance to the richness of the duck. Here grapes are used, as they add sweetness, acidity, and crunch. And once they’re cooked, they become even more grapey.


  • 4 Peking duck breast halves
  • Kosher salt and freshly milled back pepper
  • 1 cup seedless grapes, halved, plus 4 small bunches for garnish
  • 3 large shallots or 1/2 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger (use a micro plane)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canned chicken broth or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon currant jelly


Score the duck skin in a crisscross pattern and season the duck with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over high heat until hot. Add the duck, skin side down, reduce the heat to medium-high, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the skin is very crispy. Periodically remove and reserve any excess fat the duck gives off. Turn the duck over and let it cook for 3 more minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate, skin side up, and cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved duck fat to the skillet. Heat over high heat until hot; reduce the heat to medium and add the halved grapes, shallots and ginger to the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes; add the vinegar and let it simmer until reduced by half. Add the broth, mustard and jelly simmer until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add any juices that have accumulated on the duck plate and salt and pepper to taste.

Slice the duck at an angle into 1/4-inch slices and serve each portion topped with some of the sauce. Garnish each with a small bunch of grapes.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Broadway Books. All rights reserved.

RecID 8637

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