This was the first time I made duck at home since I usually save such a treat for a nice restaurant. I did enjoy it enough to want to catalog it but with variations for next time.
1 (15-ounce) fresh or frozen (thawed) boneless duck-breast half with skin
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
1 tblsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tsp snipped fresh chives
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tblsp water
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp freshly grated orange peel
1 Bosc or D'Anjou pear, cored & cut into 8 wedges
1-2 large shallot, finely chopped
1 9oz bag microwave-in-bag baby spinach
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Pat duck breast dry with paper towels. With knife, cut four 1/4-inch-deep diagonal slashes in skin & fat. On waxed paper, evenly sprinkle duck breast with 1/4 teaspoon salt & 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to season both sides. In 10-inch nonstick skillet, cook duck, skin side down, on medium 16 to 18 minutes or until skin is browned & crispy. As duck cooks, spoon off excess fat in skillet. Turn duck over; cook 10 minutes for medium-rare or until desired doneness.
While duck cooks, in 2-quart saucepan, prepare rice as label directs; when done, stir in parsley, chives, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In cup, mix vinegar, water, sugar & peel. Transfer duck to cutting board; cover with foil to keep warm. Discard all but 2 tsp fat from skillet. Stir in pear & cook 5 minutes or until it begins to brown; transfer to plate. Add shallot to skillet & cook 1 minute. Stir in vinegar mixture; cook 2 to 4 minutes, until sauce begins to thicken.
Meanwhile, prepare bagged spinach in microwave as label directs. To serve, divide spinach & rice between 2 dinner plates; sprinkle rice with almonds. Thinly slice duck breast & serve with pears & balsamic sauce.
The duck itself was flavorful & really nice with the rice & pears. I love spinach but didn't feel it lended anything to this dish so next time I will omit it. The sauce was a little too vinegar-y so I would definitely cut back on the balsamic by a tblsp or two next time, or just add a little more sugar.