Seared Duck Breast Halves With Balsamic Cherry Reduction

"The marinade becomes the sauce in this easy yet sophisticated recipe. (Submitted for the Ready Set Cook Summer 2004 Contest)"
photo by The Flying Chef photo by The Flying Chef
photo by The Flying Chef
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  • To prepare marinade, whisk balsamic vinegar through pepper together until combined.
  • Marinate duck breast halves in a covered dish in the refrigerator for 2-10 hours, turning occasionally.
  • Remove duck from marinade; reserve marinade.
  • Wipe and pat duck breast halves dry with paper towels, rub on all sides with one teaspoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.
  • Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a heavy skillet on medium-high until the oil starts to smoke.
  • Add the duck breast halves and cook 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
  • Remove to platter and keep warm.
  • Turn heat to high; add wine to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom to release browned bits.
  • Add reserved marinade and cherries and cook, stirring frequently, several minutes or until sauce has reduced by about half.
  • Taste and adjust for seasoning if needed.
  • Pour reduction (sauce) over duck and serve at once.

Questions & Replies

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  1. JKelly
    This was excellent! I've never cooked duck before, so I followed the recipe exactly (well, almost - I cooked the breast according to a Gordon Ramsay YouTube video). The sauce pairs very well with the duck, and I will definitely save this recipe. Thank you.
  2. Sage0925
    Fixed this for dinner tonight...totally awesome sauce! Wouldn't change a thing. Except to make more sauce next time. I'm not a big fan of sage, but I have a sage plant, and used it anyway. I was afraid that the sage flavor would overwhelm the sauce, but it didn't. Fantastic. Sauce also great with carrots and sweet potatoes. I usually use a raspberry sauce for duck, but wanted something different, and didn't have any raspberries anyway. LOL Five stars for you!
  3. pjmlx3
    Wonderful! I used white balsamic vinegar to go with the white wine, then found out I didn't have any white wine. I used red instead, and it was still fantastic. I kept the sides simple since this dish is so good; fresh green beans and mashed potatoes.
  4. cgtaylor15
    Delicious recipe and very easy to make. The sauce really complimented the duck and made the whole thing yummy. Will definately be making this again. Five Stars
  5. The Flying Chef
    I made this last night and both my husband and I thouroughly enjoyed it. It was very simple to prepare and the flavours complimented each other. I have only given 4 instead of 5 stars as we live near France and I buy magret of duck once a week as it is very inexpensive. You can imagine how many duck recipes, my own and other peoples I have tried. My rating reflects this, as we think there are better suaces that compliment duck. If I hadn't tried so many duck recipes, I would probably have given 5 stars as I would have nothing to compare it with. I followed the recipe exactly, except I bought duck with the skin on, both my husband and I love the crispy skin of a duck. I served mine with marinated, roasted aspargus and mashed parsnips it was delicious. I will definitely be making again. Thanks for posting.


I just (finally!) finished a Ph.D. in poetry-writing, literature, and rhetoric. Love: murder mysteries, travel, old cookbooks, NYT crossword puzzles, black and white movies, autumn leaves, quantum physics, old fiestaware, dinner parties, Belgian and Czech beer, any form of cheese (except fat-free!), a spot of fine whisky, being by myself in any foreign country.
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