Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Maple Mole

PHOTO BY MICHAEL PIAZZA / STYLED BY CATRINE KELTY

Duck breast is a perfect match for chocolate mole, so it naturally goes well with this maple version. It’s a dark, rich meat with plenty of fat to balance the sauce. Searing duck breast is a little bit different than other meats because you aren’t looking for a ripping hot pan, which is nice if your smoke alarm is sensitive!

Serves 2

2 duck breasts, skin on
kosher salt, to taste
Maple Mole, for serving (see recipe)

With a sharp knife, score in the skin of the breast in a cross-hatch pattern, taking care not to puncture all the way through to the meat. Season liberally with salt and allow to rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat a cast-iron pan on medium-low heat and place the duck breast in skin side down. Sear, slowly, until skin is a deep golden brown—this takes some time; be patient. When the skin has reached a nice golden color, flip the breast and place the whole pan into the hot oven for 6 minutes.

For medium rare duck, remove when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reaches 135°F. Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing on a bias. Serve, crispy skin side up, over a pool of mole sauce.

BEN RIGBY is a professional cook, freelance writer and anthropologist. Amateur gardening and banjos round out the days. Follow him on instagram at @rigbybenjamin