It pairs with cabernet? You’d be surprised

March 22nd, 2023

Crispy-Skinned Duck with Vietnamese Pistou

This recipe blends French and Vietnamese flavors in a hauntingly exotic herb & walnut pistou. The secret ingredient is Vietnamese fish sauce, which layers marvelous depth and umami without weighing down the mint- and basil-flecked sauce. 2019 Terra 9 Cabernet Sauvignon’s ripe Bing cherry, boysenberry and mint tea notes are a natural choice for the rich duck and walnuts, but the wine’s lithe red fruit and wild herb aromas make a dynamic and surprising match for the pistou’s vibrant freshness. Whether served as a salad with arugula, or enjoyed over a fresh corn puree, this dish tastes Napa Valley-style. Serves 3-4.


1 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
1 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
2 garlic cloves
Pinch of salt
¼ cup walnut halves or pieces
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1½ tsp Vietnamese fish sauce (such as Three Crabs)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 duck breast filets (about 2/3 lb each)
½ tsp rendered duck fat or other oil
Salt, pepper
A few leaves of basil or mint for garnish
Wash and dry the fresh herbs. Chop very roughly and put in a small food processor. Use the flat side of a chef’s knife to smash and chop the garlic cloves with the salt until it becomes a fine paste. Add the garlic paste to the food processor along with all the other pistou ingredients, and process until smooth. Scrape down the sides a few times to be sure everything is evenly incorporated. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt or pepper, if desired.

Dry the duck breasts well. Use a sharp knife to score the skin in a crosshatch pattern. Leave the duck out until it reaches room temperature, then season all over with salt and pepper. Grease the bottom of a heavy skillet with the duck fat and lay the breasts in the pan, skin side down. Put the cold pan on the stove, and turn the heat on to medium. Cook 8-10 minutes on the skin side to slowly render the fat and brown the skin; use tongs or a spatula to make sure the filets are lying flat. When nicely browned, flip over the breasts and cook 2 minutes on the other side, then stand the breasts up on their thick ends for 30-45 seconds. For medium rare, stop cooking when the thickest part of the breast is at 125 degrees; for medium, continue cooking until 130 and lower the heat if necessary. Remove to a cooling rack set over a plate to rest at least 5 minutes. Carve each breast into slices ⅜- to ½-inch thick, and serve with pistou sauce and fresh herb garnishes.

Recipe developed by: Hedonism Eats 


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