Seared Duck Breast with Five Spice

Seared Duck Breast with Five Spice
4 servings

Five spice is a Chinese spice blend that is wonderfully fragrant. Five spice balances well with the richness of the duck while the greens round out this dish nicely. Look for Gai lan and choy sum greens at Asian markets or high scale produce markets or substitute any leafy green or green vegetable. Gai lan has a mustard like flavour and is a broad leafed cabbage. Choy sum (aka flowering cabbage) has a slight bitter note and has rounded medium leaves with a paler green stem.



Five Spice Powder

1 2-inch
piece of cinnamon, broken up
pieces of star anise
tsp whole fennel seed (10 ml)
tsp Szechuan peppercorns (or black peppercorns) (10 ml)
tsp whole cloves (10 ml)

Duck Glaze

tsp five spice powder (5 ml)
Tbsp maple syrup (15 ml)
Tbsp soya sauce (15 ml)
salt to taste
Tbsp hoisin sauce (15 ml)


2 14
oz duck breasts, cut in half (four 225 g portions)
Tbsp vegetable oil (15 ml)
tsp sesame oil (5 ml)
lb(s) Chinese greens (gai lan or choy sum), trimmed and washed (454 gm)
tsp minced garlic (5 ml)
tsp minced ginger (5 ml)
coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste


Step 1

Toast all the spices in a dry skillet just until they become fragrant. Cool. Process the spices through a spice grinder. Reserve.

Step 2

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Step 4

Score the duck breasts on the fatty side in a criss-cross pattern. Place duck fat side down in a hot pan over medium-high heat and render the fat for 2 minutes. Remove the duck and drain. (You can discard the fat or save for another use).

Step 5

Return the pan to high heat and add the duck, fat side down. Add the glaze carefully to the pan as it may splatter. Cook for 1 minute on the stove top. Transfer to the oven and roast for 4 minutes. Turn duck breasts over. Baste with the glaze. Cook for another 4 minutes until duck is medium rare or done to your liking. Remove duck from the oven, transfer to cutting board, and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Step 6

Heat a medium sauté pan over high heat. Add the vegetable oil and sesame oil. Add the greens, garlic, ginger and salt and pepper. Saute the vegetables for 2 minutes or until greens have just softened.

Step 7

Thinly slice the duck and fan slices over the greens. Serve immediately.

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