This week we finally got the chance for a quiet dinner at home with just the two of us. Thankfully the greenmarket was overflowing with goodness and inspiration and this meal came together in a snap. The thin, crisp asparagus, radishes, and gorgeous strawberries for the jam (did a little canning during the day as well!) all came from the same farm from Jersey. The meal had elegant flavors, but was so simple to put together and was the perfect way to enjoy an evening in.
Duck Breast with Strawberry Gastrique
2 duck breasts
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. sherry vinegar*
2 TB strawberry jam
salt and pepper
(* if you are using a particularly sweet strawberry jam I recommend using 3/4 c. sherry vinegar instead to help balance out the sweetness).
Remove the duck breasts from the refrigerator and score the skin on top in a diamond pattern (make diagonal cuts about 1-1 1/2 inch apart and then rotate 90 degrees and repeat). Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper and allow the meat to sit out on the counter about 20 minutes to come closer to room temperature before cooking.
While the duck is resting start the gastrique. Place the maple syrup and sherry vinegar into a small saucepan and heat over high heat until boiling. Reduce the heat to medium/medium-low to allow for a slow boil. Cook until the sauce has reduced and thickened considerably, about 10 minutes or so. Add the strawberry jam, stir, and continue to cook down to reduce for another 2-3 minutes (keep in mind the sauce will thicken slightly as it cools). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To prepare the duck, place skin side down in a cold skillet. Turn on the heat to medium-high. Cook until the skin is crispy and pulls easily away from the pan (about 4-8 minutes depending on thickness of breast). Flip over and cook until medium-rare (130 degrees), about 2-4 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with the strawberry gastrique.
Asparagus and Radish Salad
1 bundle of asparagus
1 bundle of radishes
Juice from 2 lemons (about 1/3 c.)
1/8 c. white wine vinegar
1/8 c. honey
1/4 t. mustard powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/2-3/4 c. olive oil
Clean and trim the asparagus. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the asparagus to the skillet and cook until slightly charred yet still firm, tossing often, about 3 minutes per batch. Remove the charred asparagus to a platter and place in the refrigerator while cooking the rest.
Clean the radishes and slice very thinly using a mandolin. Scatter on top of the charred (and cooled) asparagus.
In a small mixing bowl add the lemon juice, white wine vinegar, honey, mustard powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix together well and then add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream while constantly whisking. Add enough oil that the dressing has almost a creamy look and has blended together well. Toss the dressing with the asparagus and radishes and serve.