Green Olive-Crusted Duck Breast with Poached Clementines and Foie Gras

Adapted by
November 2008
Yield: 4 servings


1 tablespoon , plus ¼ pound unsalted butter, softened
4 medium-size shallots, peeled and minced
kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Zest from 1 lemon
1 cup toasted breadcrumbs (plus additional, if needed)
½ cup pitted green olives, dried of excess liquid and pureed in the food processor until smooth
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 cup granulated (or superfine) sugar
2 cups water
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon juniper berries
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon saffron threads
4 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
4 clementines, peeled by hand
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 boneless duck breast “halves”, skin-on
kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Foie Gras
1 8-ounce piece domestic foie gras, cut lengthwise into 4 equal slices
kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound mustard greens, trimmed, washed, dried and torn into small pieces
6 ounces balsamic vinaigrette, flavored with 1 tablespoon champagne or raspberry vinegar


For the Crust:
Preheat broiler. Heat a small sauté pan. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and the shallots. Season them with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until translucent about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer shallots to a large bowl and add remaining quarter pound of butter. Stir to blend using a rubber spatula. Stir in lemon zest, breadcrumbs, green olives, and mustard seeds. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Spread a small amount of mixture on a baking sheet and place under the broiler. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it turns golden brown. If the crust looks firm and fairly intact, remove and set aside. If it cracks and appears dry, add some additional butter. If it is overly moist, add some additional breadcrumbs. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

For the Clementines:
In a medium pot, combine sugar and water. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, juniper, fennel, saffron, and cardamom. Stir to blend and simmer over medium heat until the sauce becomes slightly syrupy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the Sherry vinegar. Remove pot from the heat and add clementines. Allow fruit to sit in hot liquid for 15 minutes then transfer pot to the refrigerator to cool. Place each cooled clementine on its side and slice into ½-inch-thick rounds, removing any pits. Set slices in some of reserved cooking liquid to keep moist until ready to serve.

For the Duck:
Heat a skillet large enough to hold four duck breasts in a single layer. Add the vegetable oil. Season duck breasts with salt and pepper. When oil begins to smoke slightly, add meat to pan, fat side down, in a single layer. Cook until fat browns, about 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat and turn breasts over. Cook gently for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from pan and place breasts, fat side down, on a flat surface. Use a paper towel to lightly blot any excess moisture from meat side of breasts. Pat a thin layer (no more than ½-inch) of crust mixture on each and arrange them on a baking sheet. Place under the broiler, crust side up. Broil for about 4 minutes, or until crust is fairly firm and crispy.

For the Foie Gras:
Heat a medium skillet until it begins to smoke slightly. Season foie gras slices with salt and pepper and add to pan. Cook for 30 seconds on one side only. Quickly remove and add mustard greens to pan. Sauté quickly, tossing lightly, and season with salt and pepper. Add balsamic vinaigrette and 2 tablespoons of reserved cooking liquid from clementines and immediately remove pan from heat.

To Assemble and Serve:
Slice each duck breast in half, lengthwise. Arrange mustard greens on four warmed dinner plates. Top each with two halves of duck in a crisscross fashion. Top each with a slice of foie gras and arrange some of the clementine slices around edges of plate. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.

Wine pairings
Cabernet Franc