Mother's Day on StarChefs
Mother's Day on StarChefs
Recipes Inspired by the Mothers of Celebrity Chefs and Cookbook Authors

Coriander Breast of Duck with Roast Parsnip and Sweet Potato Sauce
By Chef Michel Nischan (more info)

"While I thank my mother for all she's given me, I thank her most for the gift of love not just for me, but for all living things. She has a deep respect for the land and its produce. From soil to seed, plant to fruit, and finally consumption, my mother has a profound understanding of the seamless cycle of life and the need to protect it. One of the greatest sins, in her mind, is to destroy food by careless handling or "lazy cooking", which is why she taught me not to cook unless you are happy. She would say,'If you're not happy when you cook, the food will suffer and so will the people eating it.' She also believes that the food has to be happy too. These simple truths add up to a very high culinary standard a standard that I live by today.

Thanks Mom!"

Serves 6 - 8 people


  • 5 each large sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped Thai chili
  • 2 tablespoons toasted coriander seeds, crushed
  • 4 each skinless, boneless duck breasts, approximately 5 to 7 ounces each
  • 2 each medium skin-on parsnips poached for 15 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 each sprigs baby pea shoots


1). Cut each potato into 6 long wedges. Save 4 wedges. Juice the remaining wedges in an electric vegetable juicer, and pour the juice through a fine mesh strainer. This will yield approximately 4 cups.

2). Allow the juice to stand for 2 hours. A layer of white starch will form at the bottom of the juice. Pour the juice off the starch into a medium saucepot.

3). Place over a medium flame and reduce to one cup, or until the sauce naturally thickens. Remove from the fire and stir in the ginger and Thai chili pepper.

4). Stir until the sauce tastes spicy enough and strain immediately.

5). Split each poached parsnip in half lengthwise and rub with a small amount of grapeseed oil. Rub the 4 reserved sweet potato wedges with grapeseed oil. Season the parsnip and potato with salt and pepper.

6). Bake on a cookie sheet in a pre-heated 400 degree oven until browned and cooked through (approximately 15 minutes). Heat a large sauté pan over a medium heat. Season each duck breast with salt and pepper.

7). Press one side of the duck breast into the coriander seeds. Wipe the sauté pan with a towel that has been dipped into grapeseed oil. Add the duck breasts, seed side down. Sauté until the coriander browns.

8). Turn the duck breasts over and transfer the pan to a 375 degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the breasts and allow them to rest 2 to 4 minutes.

9). Set a piece of parsnip and wedge of sweet potato on each plate. Slice each duck breast into 1/4 inch slices and arrange against the vegetables. Spoon sauce onto each plate and garnish with pea shoots.

StarChef Michel Nischan was Corporate Consulting Chef for Steelhead Grill in Pittsburgh, The Brant Point Grill in Nantucket and Blue Shore in Memphis. He owned the highly acclaimed Mich Mache, where he was named "the best chef in Connecticut" by Connecticut Magazine. He is now the Corporate Chef of the Myriad Group as well as the renowned executive chef of Heartbeat In W New York, 541 Lexington Ave., New York; (212) 407-2900.

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