crispy seared duck breast with blueberry balsamic sauce

You will be amazed how easy this recipe is. Serve with asparagus, broccoli or green beans drizzled in olive oil or the rendered duck fat.

serves 4, prep 15 mins, cooking time mins

for the duck
4x170g duck breasts
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder

for the sauce
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
300g frozen blueberries, thawed
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme leaves
1 tbsp rendered duck fat

Heat the oven to 200C (220C non-fan). Heat a large ovenproof pan over a medium heat until hot, then reduce the heat to medium-low. While the pan is heating, drain any juices from the duck breasts. Place them skin side up on a chopping board and blot any excess moisture with paper towels. Turn over and trim any excess skin beyond the edges of the breast. Turn skin side up again and, using a sharp knife, cut a diamond pattern in the skin by slicing through the skin, but not into the meat, at 1cm intervals. Repeat with the remaining three breasts, then season with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Place the breasts skin side down in the hot pan. Sear the duck skin for 6-8 mins until it is crisp and brown, but watch carefully for burning. If they start to get dark too quickly, reduce the heat. Searing renders the fat and crisps the skin.

Meanwhile, make the sauce (keep your eye on the duck; peek underneath occasionally to check the colour and crispness). Heat the olive oil in a small pan over a medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook for about 2 mins until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer. Tip in the blueberries, vinegar and thyme and turn the heat up to medium. Cook for about 4 mins, stirring occasionally, until a juicy sauce forms and the vinegar cooks down.

When the duck skin is seared to a golden brown, turn the breasts skin side up and place the pan in the oven for 3-6 mins (the timing will depend on the thickness of the duck breasts). Remove the pan from the oven, let the meat rest for a few mins then cut crossways into thin slices. The duck should still be pink in the middle. Remove 1 tbsp of rendered duck fat from the pan and stir into the blueberry sauce. Divide the sliced duck between four plates and spoon 2 tbsp sauce over each serving.

Nutrition per serving (170g duck breast, 2 tbsp sauce) Calories 370, fat 24g, saturated fat 6g, cholesterol 180mg, fibre 2g, protein 32g, carbohydrate 8g, sodium 260mg