This recipe is something I recently reverse engineered from an old memory. In the distant summer of 2000 I visited my dear childhood friend Gergana in Narbonne – in the south of France, and she took me to a seasonal restaurant in middle of a vineyard called Le Souquet’s. I had magret de canard au miel et a la lavande. It is one of these memories that stuck with me through the years, and I recently tried to recreate it.
serves: 4 difficulty: easy prep time: 10 min + 1.5 hrs
- 2 large duck breasts
- 4 tbs honey
- 2 tbs dried lavender
The easiest way to cook the duck breast in a fool-proof way (or any other meat for that matter) is to use a sous vide machine. If you don’t have one, it is a worthwhile investment. Mine is Joule and it comes with a phone app so that you can control it remotely.
First, wash and pat dry the duck breasts. Flip the breasts skin side up, and score the skin with a pairing knife while being careful to cut into the skin and the fat only, but not into the meat. Score diagonally in one direction and then in the opposite direction to form the checkerboard pattern below.
Heat a fry pan, and once it is hot, place the duck breasts skin side down in the pan. Note that you don’t need any oil in the pan. The purpose of this is to render the fat from the duck before cooking it in the sous vide.
Check on the skin periodically, and once it is nice golden, and the fat under the skin has melted (i.e. rendered) take the duck breasts out of the pan.
Flip the duck breasts skin side down, and season with 1/2 tbs sea salt and ground black pepper on the meat side (i.e. not the skin side). Smear 2 tbs honey on the meat side of each breast, and spread 1 tbs lavender on each breast.
Place the breasts in a sous vide nylon bag, vacuum, seal them, and place in the sous vide machine. Cook at 132 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 to 120 min.
Once the breasts are finished cooking, take them out of the sous vide bag, and scrape off the lavender. Cover with aluminum foil, and let the meat rest for 3-4 min.
To plate, slice the duck breast in 1/4″ slices. Here I garnished with a fig.
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