Think duck à l’orange but with the flavors of tropical Asia. And because we’re cooking duck breast fillets here instead of a whole duck, the cooking time is shorter.
About the pineapple and orange. Canned fruit or fruit juice will not work here. Canned pineapple is too sweet without the natural tanginess. Plus, you want the fruit to expel liquid in which the duck will braise. You can’t get that from canned pineapples. If you use the syrup from the can, the flavor of the braising liquid will taste flat. And the orange? You need the orange zest to give the sauce the best orange-y flavor and aroma.
Pineapple Orange Duck
- 1 whole duck breast filleted, skin on
- ¾ cup good white wine I used semi-sweet
- 1 cup fresh pineapple tidbits please don’t substitute canned; see notes after the recipe
- 1 orange
- 1 thumb-sized piece ginger
- cilantro to garnish (optional but recommended)
- Cut the duck breast meat vertically into two equal portions.
- Season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Zest the orange. You’ll need two textures — fine zest for garnish and larger pieces for cooking. Use a zester to get about half a teaspoonful of fine zest and a peeler to cut the remaining zest.
- Squeeze the orange juice.
- Peel and finely slice the ginger.
- Heat a frying pan (a cast iron pan is best).
- When hot, lay the duck breast halves side by side, skin side down. The skin will render fat so there’s no need to add oil.
- Cook over high heat until the skins are nicely browned, about three minutes.
- Flip to sear the opposite side, about two minutes.
- Add the ginger and the large pieces of orange rind. Cook until fragrant, about a minute.
- Pour in the white wine. Allow to boil, uncovered, for about three minutes.
- Pour in the orange juice.
- Add the pineapple tidbits.
- Lower the heat, cover and braise for 12 to 14 minutes.
- Scoop out the duck breast halves and pineapple tidbits, transfer to a plate and cover loosely. Allow to rest while you finish the sauce.
- Boil the sauce until reduced to about four tablespoonfuls.
- Take one duck breast half and slice thinly. Arrange on a plate. Do the same with the other half.
- Divide the pineapple tidbits and scatter beside or around the duck.
- Spoon some sauce over the duck and pineapples.
- Sprinkle the pineapple orange duck with cilantro and the fine orange zest before serving.