How to pan-roast a duck breast
Pan roasting is one of the great ways to cook meat indoors. Any cut of meat that will fit in a pan (chicken breast, steak, pork chop, etc.) can be seared over high heat, then finished in a moderately hot oven. Searing gives the meat browned flavor and crispness, and finishing in the oven helps the meat cook evenly throughout.
Duck sometimes seems daunting to cook at home. But a duck breast is about as easy to cook as a strip steak, especially when pan roasted. Searing the breast fat-side down helps render and crisp the thick layer covering the meat.
First, I scored the fat side of the breast by making shallow, crosswise cuts. (This helps the fat melt away into the pan.)
Then I seasoned the breast generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
I heated a tablespoon of canola oil in a heavy pan over medium-high heat until it was hot but not smoking. Then I seared the breast fat-side down until much of the fat melted away, and the skin turned brown and crisp, about 4 minutes.
I flipped the breast over with tongs and seared the other side for another couple of minutes.
I poured off most of the fat, slid the pan into a pre-heated 350F oven and cooked until it was 125F in the thickest part. I let the meat rest 10 minutes before slicing at an angle.
It was delicious alongside a butternut squash purée and a simple frisée salad.