Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pan-Seared Duck Breasts with Cocoa-Nib Spice Rub

1 T roasted cocoa nibs
2 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
4 juniper berries
3 whole cloves
4 boneless duck breasts, about 8 ounces each

In a mortar or spice grinder, grind the cocoa nibs, salt, peppercorns, juniper berries and cloves to a powder. Massage this spice rub onto both sides of the duck breasts. Put the breasts on a flat rack and set the rack on a tray so that air circulates all around them. Refrigerate uncovered for 24 to 48 hours. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add the duck breasts, skin side down. Cook the breasts, pouring off fat as it accumulates, until the skin is well browned and crisp, about 12 minutes, adjusting the heat so the skin colors without burning.

Turn the duck breasts and cook on the flesh side for 6 minutes; using tongs, sear all the exposed flesh. Let rest 10 minutes on a cutting board, then slice on the diagonal. Serve immediately.

Serves 4


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