This is a very glamorous looking dish that is deceptively simple to make. Duck breasts are actually very easy to work with and they can be cooked quickly and beautifully with very little fuss. Duck is an excellent match with the sweetness of a roasted fig balanced with the tang of balsamic vinegar. The white beans are roasted with garlic and provide a nice crunchy texture and a savoury note that stands up against the sweet and rich flavours of the rest of the dish.
- 2 duck breasts, at room temperature
- 1 can of white beans, drained and washed
- 3 small cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp rosemary
- 4 medium purple figs
- balsamic vinegar
- olive oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Pre-heat your oven to 200°C.
Place a heavy based frypan on a medium heat, add a tiny splash of oil and place your duck breasts, heavily seasoned, skin side down in the pan. You want to render the skin side for about 8 minutes until the skin starts to look brown and crispy. Every so often, as you see the fat come out into the pan, pour off any excess as you want the duck to be browning in a fairly dry pan. Once the skin is nice and brown and toasty looking, flip the duck and place it in the oven for 6 minutes. Pull out, and rest it in a warm spot, skin side up for about 5 minutes.
While all this is going on, you should be preparing the rest of the bits so everything will be ready and cooked and hot together.
For the beans, heat another frypan until you see it start to shimmer, add a generous amount of oil to the pan and then start frying off the garlic. Once it starts to sizzle, add half the rosemary, give it a good stir before adding the white beans and seasoning. You want the white beans to be almost fried so don’t be scared of adding a little more oil. Once it’s all hot and sizzly, place the pan into the oven and cook for about 7–9 minutes or until the beans are nice and crispy, they will need to be taken out and stirred a couple of times during this process. Once they are ready, take them out of the oven and rest them in a warm spot
Tear the figs in half, place them on a baking tray and sprinkle over the remaining rosemary. Splash with a little olive oil, season and then give them a good drizzle with balsamic.
Roast them in the oven for 5 minutes.
Ok, so now hopefully you have some nice crispy beans, some roasted figs and 2 duck breast that are still nice and warm.
Place the duck breasts onto a board and cut each one into about 5 long pieces lengthways along the duck.
Spoon the white beans onto a warmed platter, arrange the duck slice s over the top, adding any of the ducks juicy cooking liquids. Arrange the figs over the top again pouring over any of the cooking juices.
A nice drizzle of olive oil and an extra bit of seasoning and you are ready to serve.
• The trickiest thing about this recipe is getting all your timings right. All this requires is making sure you have all your bits ready to go, ensuring you are neat and not surrounded by chaos and taking a few deep breaths and concentrating on the task at hand. A quick flurry of cooking and then it’s all ready to go.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Trish Heagarty.