Cook like a French Foodie: Seared Duck Breast, Fresh Fig, Black Currant.

Cook like a French Foodie: Seared Duck Breast, Fresh Fig, Black Currant.

When is it the right time to share a recipe that’s as rich in flavor as it is in culture? Sometimes it’s true that certain foods are best during certain months of the year. If you travel between June and October, you’ll find the widest variety fresh figs in season in the Provence countryside — and you’ll be able to visit with the local butcher and choose the meatiest, tastiest, most tender duck breasts you’ve ever had. But if this dreamy journey is just not in the cards right now, take advantage of this French recipe for Seared Duck Breast, Fresh Fig and Black Currant Sauce. Because when life’s this delicious, you’ve got to eat it up.


  • Seared Duck Breast with Fresh Figs and Black Currant Sauce
  • 4 servings
  • 16 fresh figs
  • 2 fatted duck breasts (magret), each about 1 pound (500 g)
  • Fine sea salt
  • Coarse, freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) best-quality balsamic vinegar (see Note)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) crème de cassis (black currant liqueur) or black currant juice
  1. Stand each fig, stem end up, on a cutting board. Trim off and discard the stem end of the fig. Make an X-shaped incision into each fig, cutting about one-third of the way down through the fruit.
  2. Remove the duck from the refrigerator 10 minutes in advance before cooking. With a sharp knife, make about 10 diagonal incisions in the skin of each duck breast. Make about 10 additional diagonal incisions to create a crisscross pattern. The cuts should be deep but should not go all the way through to the flesh. (The scoring will help the fat melt while cooking and will stop the duck breast from shrinking up as it cooks.) Season the breasts all over with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a dry skillet over medium heat. When the pan is warm, place the breasts, skin side down, in the pan. Reduce the heat to low and cook gently until the skin is a uniform, deep golden brown, about 3 minutes. Carefully remove and discard the fat in the pan. Cook the breasts skin side up for 10 minutes more for medium-rare duck, or cook to desired doneness.
  4. Remove the duck from the skillet and place the breasts side by side on the warmed platter. Season generously with salt and pepper. Tent loosely with foil and let the duck rest for at least 10 minutes, to allow the juices to retreat back into the meat.
  5. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar and crème de cassis and warm over low heat.
  6. In a saucepan that will hold the figs snugly, arrange them tightly in a single layer, cut end up. Pour the warm vinegar mixture over the figs and cook over low heat, basting the figs with the liquid, for about 3 minutes.
  7. Cut the duck breasts on the diagonal into thick slices, and arrange on the warmed dinner plates. Spoon the sauce over the duck slices, and arrange the figs alongside. Serve

Find the recipe for Seared Duck Breast with Fresh Figs and Black Currant and more in The French Kitchen Cookbook by Patricia Wells.

Entertainment Tip: Find a recipe that is flexible and can be tweaked to your own or your guests’ preferences. With the recipe for Seared Duck Breast with Fresh Figs and Black Currant Sauce, you can serve the sauce with any grilled or roasted poultry. And, if you prefer cherries to figs, you can substitute the fruits and cherry eau-de-vie for crème de cassis.

How to Pair This Delightful Duo: Chocolate & Wine