My Cook: Duck Breast with Toasted Farro, Shaved Fennel, Arugula and Grapefruit Salad

February 11, 2019

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This Valentine’s Day recipe is a restaurant quality meal that requires a little more prep work and knife skills than our normal recipes, but will help you show off to your special someone. Suvie helps you cook duck breasts to tender, sous vide perfection. All you need to do is sear the skin to crisp it up and render out the duck fat. Since the duck is a rich protein we decided to keep things light with a toasted farro salad. Farro is an ancient grain from the Mediterranean that takes on a roasted popcorn flavor when toasted. Use Suvie’s broiler to toast the farro and then boil it while the duck is cooking. To complement the farro we’ll teach you how to segment a grapefruit and shave fennel for a bright, fresh salad.

Ingredients

  • 2 duck breasts
  • ½ cup pearled farro
  • ¼ cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 grapefruit
  • ½ fennel bulb
  • 3 oz arugula
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter

Instructions

Add the farro to a Suvie protein pan. Broil for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to toast the farro. It will slightly darken and begin to smell like popcorn. Put the toasted farro in the starch pan and season with 2 tsp salt.

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Separate the duck breasts if they are connected and pat dry with a paper towel. Carefully score the fat on top of the breasts, but try not to cut into the meat. Scoring the fat creates more surface area in order to render the fat and crisp the skin during the searing step.

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Generously salt both sides of the duck breasts and seal in a vacuum bag. Load the farro and duck breasts into your Suvie, enter the My Cook settings and cook.

My Cook Settings

Protein: 130˚F, 2 hrs

Vegetable: 0 min

Starch: 25 min

While the duck and farro are cooking you can begin preparing the salad.

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Shave the fennel. If you have a mandoline slicer this is a perfect application, just be mindful of your thumbs and fingers!

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Cut the fennel in half and use a paring knife to cut our the middle core. Shave the fennel into thin strips with the mandoline or with a very sharp chef knife.

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Segment the grapefruit using a small, sharp paring knife. Cut the top and bottom off of the grapefruit to remove the peel and thick white pith.

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Then cut around the grapefruit to remove the peel and pith along the outside edges. Continue cutting off strips of pith until only the grapefruit flesh remains.

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Turn the grapefruit on its side and cut next to the membrane of one segment. Cut down the other side of the segment and remove it from the membranes.

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Continue until you have removed all of the segments and set them aside. Squeeze the leftover membrane and pulp to extract the grapefruit juice, be sure to remove any seeds, we will use the juice for making the sauce. Set aside with the fennel until the duck is cooked.

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Prepare the salad dressing by whisking together the sherry vinegar, dijon mustard, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Feel free to add more vinegar or oil for your prefered acidity.

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When the cook is complete fluff the farro with a fork, adjust seasoning to taste and set aside.

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Remove the duck from the vacuum bags and discard and liquid. Pat dry with a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Place the duck breasts skin side down in a cold, heavy-bottomed skillet (preferably cast iron). Set the burner to medium heat and let the skillet render off the fat. You will start to hear the fat sizzle, sear for 2-3 minutes until you start to see edges of the fat turn golden brown.

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Carefully drain off as much fat as you can into a heat-proof container, and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Turn the duck breast and briefly sear the other side for 30 seconds. Move to a paper towel lined plate and rest for 10 minutes with the skin facing up. Drain the rest of the duck fat from the skillet. Return to medium heat and add the reserved grapefruit juice. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute until reduced. Remove from heat and add 2 tbsp cold butter. Use a spoon to swirl the cold butter in the hot liquid, continue moving the butter around the pan until it has completely dissolved into the sauce. Season with salt if necessary.

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Finish the salad by combining the farro, shaved fennel, grapefruit segments, and pistachios. Toss with the sherry vinaigrette and adjust seasoning to taste. Divide the salad between two plates, slice the duck breast and fan out next to the salad. Drizzle the sauce over the duck breast. Bon appetit!

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Wine Pairing

The perfect wine to pair with this dish is Pinot Noir. The medium to high acidity of Pinot Noir will help to cut through the fat and the cherry notes will pair beautifully with the gamey flavors of the duck.

Dan Snedeker