Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Roast Duck Breast with Shaved Black Truffles

Some time ago I received a copy of Patricia Wells "Simply Truffles" cookbook to do a review on. I kind of laughed when I received it thinking there was never going to be a time when I would have a chance to make anything from it. I honestly didn't even read through it like I usually do with a new cookbook because I didn't want to get excited about anything.

My birthday was earlier this month and the day before, my wife handed me the cookbook and a website and said to order some truffles and plan dinner for my birthday. I was beyond ecstatic. Most online retailers of truffles ship them overnight so I spent the morning researching recipes and then placed my order with Marx Foods just in the nick of time. Just in the nick of time meaning that I missed their deadline but I called and they were so nice they slipped it in for me.

So are you familiar with truffles? No, not the chocolate ones. I'm talking about the beautiful mushroom related ones like this:

Marx Foods has some great information on choosing truffles and has a great chart on what to choose based on what is in season and what you can afford. We're kind of in the middle of truffle seasons right now so I was somewhat limited on what I could get fresh but I ended up choosing the Italian Black Summer Truffle. It's a more mild flavor than your typical French black truffle or the Italian white but it's still a great addition to lighter dishes where it can really shine.

We've had some pretty amazing truffle dishes since then, including soft scrambled eggs, risotto and poached eggs with polenta. My absolute favorite though was this dish that I made for my birthday dinner. I know, some of you are thinking "he had to cook on his birthday!", but my wife knows that's what I would really want to do anyway.

Although I've eaten duck, I've never cooked it myself. It was pretty amazing. It has this thick layer of fat on one side of the breast and as you cook it in the pan, the fat just keeps rendering off and you end up with this beautiful crispy piece of skin on one side and juicy meat on the other. Pack in some shaved truffles under that skin and how can you go wrong?

The sauce goes perfectly with this too. I didn't really get the addition of the chicken wings to the making of the sauce other than just adding some fresh chicken flavor and I'd probably not include those next time but otherwise, it was just about perfect.

Have you ever cooked with fresh truffles before? What are some of your favorite truffle dishes that you've made or had in a restaurant?

Roast Duck Breast with Shaved Black Truffles
adapted from Epicurious


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken wings
1 cup diced peeled carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 1/4 cups beef broth
2 cups low-salt chicken broth

2 ounces fresh black truffles or frozen, unthawed

3 boneless duck breast halves
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 cup apple juice

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken wings and sauté until deep brown, about 15 minutes. Add carrots and celery to skillet; sauté 5 minutes. Add both broths; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour. Strain, reserving broth and discarding wings and vegetables. If necessary, return broth to skillet and boil until reduced to 1 cup; reserve for sauce.

Using small brush, scrub fresh or frozen truffles under cold running water. Using sharp thin knife, remove peel from truffles and reserve for sauce. Thinly shave truffles using V-slicer or truffle shaver; cover and set aside. 

Pat duck breasts dry with paper towels. Cut off any sinew from breast meat. Place breasts on work surface. Using fingers or small sharp knife, pull or cut skin with fat away from meat from both long sides of duck breast almost to center, leaving 1-inch-wide strip of fat attached to meat in center (do not cut through center strip). Lift up flaps of duck skin and fat and arrange sliced truffles over breast meat under fat on each, dividing equally. Press skin flaps down over truffles to cover completely. Using sharp knife, score top of duck skin in 1/2-inch diamond pattern, being careful not to cut through fat. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover broth, duck, and truffle peel separately and chill.)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle duck breasts with salt and pepper. Place duck, skin side down, in skillet. Cook until skin is deep golden and crisp and fat renders, occasionally pouring off accumulated drippings from pan, about 10 minutes. Turn duck breasts over; place pan in oven and roast just until duck is cooked to desired doneness, about 8 minutes for medium. Transfer duck to platter; cover and let rest 10 minutes. Reserve skillet. Finely chop reserved truffle peel.

Drain remaining fat from skillet. Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sauté until golden, about 2 minutes. Add juice and boil until almost evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add reserved broth and any accumulated juices from duck; simmer until mixture is reduced to 1 generous cup. Strain mixture into small saucepan; add reserved chopped truffle peel. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter.

Thinly slice duck breasts crosswise. Arrange duck slices on plates; drizzle with sauce and serve.


  1. It sounds very easy to make this dish though it looks like a long ingredient list! bookmarked!

  2. Yum. Two of my favorite things in one recipe! I'm going to check out Marx for some truffles. Think I need some truffle love in my life right now.

  3. I need to try tuffles out, these sound so tasty! Congrats on the Top 9!

  4. Very nice dish! Congratulations on making the foodbuzz Top 9!

  5. O.M.G.

    truffle is my kryptonite. i love ANYTHING with truffles. haha. i was about to ask you where you managed to get fresh truffles but then i read your post. i've only ever used oils and truffle "scented" salts, butter, honey. never managed to get my hands on fresh ones. so jealous right now. lucky bitch. ;) and on DUCK! you have my heart, darling.

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    Wild Duck Breast Recipes

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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