HELP! I tried my first attempt at duck breasts tonight and I can't say that I was overwhelmed with the results. I can see why people have trouble with duck. Was attempting pan seared duck with a cherry/port sauce. The sauce came out great but the duck was not what I was hoping. I scored the skin but the amount of fat that accumulated in the pan while I was still searing the skin side seemed excessive. Felt more like deep fat frying than searing. I tried removing some of the fat during the cooking but there still seemed to be a lot in the pan. When the skin side looked nicely golden brown I turned it over and cooked the flesh side until golden. Total time in the pan was about 5-6 minutes per side. The breast was still a bit too rare in the middle but if I cooked any further I think the outside would be burned. So couple of questions;
1 - Would pounding the breast thinner, like a chicken cutlet, be a reasonable thing to do? Seems like this would shorten the total cooking time and avoid under done center and over done skin.
2- Would oven finishing be a good idea? Get the correct color on the outside and finish to temperature in the oven.
3 - I saw an episode of Good Eats about duck and Alton Brown recommends steaming the duck pieces for 40-ish minutes to help render the fat and start the cooking, then finish in a very hot cast iron pan to get the crisp skin and color. Anyone ever tried this method?
4 - the sub-cutainious fat layer seemed really thick. Is the majority of this supposed to be cooked off?
I want to give duck breasts another try. Any suggestions or personal experiences would be greatly appreciated.