This recipe comes from The Moro Cookbook by Sam and Sam Clark, and features pan-seared duck breast with pomegranate molasses served with beetroot and pomegranate salad.
Pomegranate molasses is a thick and fragrant syrup produced by boiling down pomegranate juice and sugar. It features prominently in Middle Eastern-Mediterranean cooking, but can now be found in most major supermarkets due to its rising popularity. The syrup pairs particularly well with poultry and lamb in marinades, and can liven up vegetables and salad dishes.
This is a quick dish and requires few ingredients and very little preparation. The tartness of the molasses provides a refreshing counterpoint to the more familiar sweetness that typically accompanies duck, and the pomegranate seeds add wonderful texture to the salad and are literally bursting with flavour.
You will need:
- Duck breasts, skin on
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- Salt and pepper
- Salad (Lambs lettuce and mixed chard)
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- A pinch of sugar
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Score the skin of the duck breast in a criss-cross fashion, salt generously, and set aside for 15 minutes.
Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Place the duck breasts skin-side down and seal for a minute or so until lightly browned. Turn over to seal the other side before placing in the oven for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest on a board, loosely covered in foil for around 5-10 minutes.
I’ve taken to removing the duck after 7-10 minutes in the oven as I find it tends to come out closer to medium than medium-rare after 15 minutes. Cooking time may vary for you as well depending on your oven and thickness of the duck breast, so do keep a close eye to prevent it from being overcooked.
Alternatively, and also my preferred method, place the breasts skin-side down in a cold pan and render the fat on low heat until crispy and brown. You can then sear the other side and finish it in the oven or finish cooking in the pan until the desired doneness. I do feel pan-frying gives me more control and visual/tactile cues for achieving that perfect pinkness.
Pour off the excess oil and return the pan to a medium heat. Add the water, pomegranate molasses, and cinnamon to the pan and mix thoroughly. Reduce for a minute until thickened before seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Slice the duck breast at an angle and drizzle the sauce over it.
Remove the seeds the from the pomegranate by cutting the crown from the end of the fruit and scoring the rind in several sections. Breaking the fruit apart in a bowl of water results in the seeds sinking to the bottom and the rind and white fibrous membrane floating to the top, which can be easily discarded.
Thinly slice the beetroot.
For the dressing, mix together the pomegranate molasses, olive oil, lemon juice, and sugar, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the sliced duck breast drizzled over with the pomegranate reduction, and salad tossed with the dressing, beetroot, and pomegranate seeds.
With over half a bottle of molasses left, I’m feeling inspired. Pomegranate cocktails and baked treats coming soon hopefully.