- Yield: 4 Servings
For the Duck Breasts
- ¼ cup plus 1½ teaspoons packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 cups (1 pint) water
- 1 large sprig of fresh thyme
- 1 large sprig of fresh rosemary
- 2 (7- to 8-ounce) skin-on individual duck breasts
For the Puree
- 1 cup dried coco beans, soaked overnight
- 8 cups (2 quarts) Light Chicken Stock
- 2 bacon slices, preferably applewood-smoked
- 2 whole garlic cloves
- 1 whole medium shallot
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
- Kosher salt and ground white pepper
For the Onion Broth
- 2 small onions, halved
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi)
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) ponzu sauce
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (3 ounces) oloroso or cream sherry
- 4 cups (1 quart) Light Chicken Stock
How to Make It
To Cure the Duck Breasts
- Whisk together the sugar, salt, water, and herbs until the sugar and salt dissolve in a medium bowl. Dunk the duck breasts into the cure liquid and refrigerate covered for 30 minutes.
- Remove the duck from the cure, discarding the liquid. Rinse the breast and pat it dry with a paper towel. The breasts will be somewhat firmer than when raw.
- Score the skin of the duck breasts in a 1-inch diamond or crosshatch pattern. Make crisscross cuts through the skin but not into the flesh. This promotes gradual and easy rendering of fat. Refrigerate covered until needed. To prepare the Coco Beans
- Combine the beans, stock, bacon, garlic, shallot, and bay leaf in a medium saucepan and simmer until the beans become tender. (If the liquid level gets within 1 inch of the beans before the beans are ready, add enough water or additional stock to bring it up to that level.)
- Transfer the beans and half their liquid to a blender and add the butter. Puree, adding a bit more bean liquid if needed to get a thin but smooth mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed. To Prepare the Onion Broth
- Place the onion halves over a stove burner and cook until blackened and charred all over, 10–15 minutes.
- Transfer the onions to a medium saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients and reduce by half.
- Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Do not press on the solids so that the broth stays clear. Return the broth to the saucepan and keep warm on low heat. To Cook The Duck
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Warm a sauté pan over high heat until it just starts to smoke. Turn the heat down to medium, and pour in enough oil to coat the pan lightly, swirling it around quickly.
- Place the duck breasts in the pan, skin-sides down. Sauté until the skin renders some fat, and becomes golden, 2–3 minutes. If the skin is browning before some fat is rendered, reduce the heat.
- Turn over the duck breasts and cook for about 2 minutes skin-sides up.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for about 4 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and the duck is cooked to rare to medium-rare, an internal temperature of 130°F–135°F. Let the duck breasts rest on a cutting board for 2–3 minutes. Putting it all Together
- Reheat the bean puree.
- Spoon a mound of the warm puree in the center of each of 4 plates. Slice the duck breasts thinly across the grain. Lay half a duck breast over the puree on each plate. Pour equal portions of the broth over and around the duck. Garnish the dish with assorted greens and serve.