Lavender-Fennel Duck Breast

Serves 8-10


  • 6 whole boneless duck breasts (about 8 oz each)
  • 2 tbsp lavender flowers
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1½ tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Wine Reduction

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups red wine
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ½ cup balsamic cream (also called balsamic reduction)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste


Season & Sear Duck

  1. Score fat side of duck with a knife without cutting into the meat
  2. Combine lavender, fennel, salt and pepper and crush with mortar and pestle to release the flavors
  3. Rub mixture on both sides of duck
  4. Allow duck to sit for at least 1 hour in a covered container, fat-side-down in refrigerator (don’t let it go for more than 24 hours)
  5. Add olive oil to skillet over medium heat
  6. Lightly brown minced garlic in the olive oil, about 30 seconds
  7. Place duck in skillet, fat-side-down and cook 3 minutes to render fat
  8. Drain fat from pan (this can be done carefully with duck still in the pan, but if you feel more comfortable, remove duck to a plate before draining, then return to pan). Continue to cook, skin-side-down for another 3 minutes until skin is brown
  9. Raise heat to high and flip duck over to meat side. Cook for 10-15 minutes until temperature reaches 125º
  10. Remove duck from pan (do not wash pan), allowing duck to rest lightly covered with foil (duck will continue to cook while resting)

Make Wine Reduction

  1. Reduce skillet heat to medium. Add olive oil and garlic. Saute garlic until lightly-browned, about 30 seconds
  2. Add balsamic cream and continue to cook until wine is reduced by half, 10-15 minutes
  3. Add salt and pepper to adjust seasonings. Pass sauce through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any bits of fat and garlic
  4. Slice resting duck against the grain in long, thin strips
  5. To serve, pour wine reduction over duck or serve reduction on the side

Serving Suggestion - Great served with large pearl couscous, rice pilaf or garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus