Duck breasts are marinated in the liquid reserved from Poached Quinces, and once cooked, they're brushed with more of the lightly spiced liquid. This creates incredibly moist and flavorful meat. Serve with a simple salad of spinach and radicchio.
2 (12-ounce) packages boneless whole duck breasts, thawed and cut in half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions
How to Make It
Reserve 4 quince quarters and 3/4 cup poaching liquid from Poached Quinces. Reserve remaining quince quarters and liquid for another use. Cut 4 quince quarters into cubes; set aside.
Combine 1/2 cup reserved poaching liquid, five-spice powder, ginger, and garlic in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add duck to bag; seal and toss to coat. Marinate in refrigerator at least 24 hours or up to 2 days, turning bag occasionally.
Preheat oven to 400°.
Remove duck from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle duck evenly with salt and pepper. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Place duck, skin side down, in pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes or until skin is golden brown. Turn meat over; cook 1 minute. Place pan in oven. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160° (medium) or until desired degree of doneness. Remove duck from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Place duck, skin side down, on a cutting board or work surface. Brush meaty side of duck with remaining 1/4 cup poaching liquid.
Heat reserved drippings in pan over medium-high heat. Add cubed quince quarters; sauté 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat; stir in sliced green onions.
Remove skin from duck; discard. Cut duck diagonally across grain into thin slices. Divide duck slices evenly among each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1/4 cup quince mixture. Serve immediately.
Wine note: These duck breasts have it all--sweetness from the Poached Quinces, richness from the duck, and spiciness from the five-spice powder. Is there one wine that can act as a perfect counterpoint? Yes: pinot noir. A top pinot will have the acidity to balance the richness of the duck while possessing grace notes of ripe fruit and spiciness to mirror the quince and five-spice powder. A terrific choice: Alderbrook Pinot Noir 2002 from California's Russian River Valley ($24). -Karen MacNeil