July 18, 2007
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 pounds boneless duck breasts, skin on
10 dried chiles de arbol
6 ounces dried Bing cherries
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
5 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1/2 cup diced onion
6 tomatillos, husks removed, coarsely chopped
8 small corn tortillas
Finely chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
1. Rub 1 teaspoon of the salt into the duck breasts, place them in a large sealable plastic bag and refrigerate for 1 hour while you make the sauce.
2. Soak the chiles de arbol and dried cherries in 2 cups of boiling water for about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid. In a food processor, combine the drained chiles and cherries with one-fourth cup olive oil, one-half teaspoon salt and 2 cloves of the minced garlic. Process to a thick paste, adding a little of the reserved liquid to help combine and adjust consistency. Set aside. This makes about 1 cup compote.
3. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, place the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the onions and the remaining 3 cloves of minced garlic. Sauté until the onions are just starting to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatillos and remaining one-half teaspoon salt. Cover and continue to cook about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatillos are tender. Remove and cool slightly for a few minutes.
4. In a food processor, combine the tomatillo mixture with one-fourth cup of the chile-cherry paste. Set aside. This makes about 1 1/2 cups sauce.
5. Place the duck breasts, skin side down, into a cold, cast-iron skillet. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook the duck about 10 minutes, or until the skin is golden-brown and crispy and the fat has rendered off. (Turn the heat down to medium after a few minutes and watch to make sure the duck doesn't burn. Adjust the heat if necessary so that it cooks evenly.) Turn the duck over and cook for 1 minute to cook the meat to medium-rare; otherwise, continue cooking until desired doneness is achieved. Remove the breasts to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice very thinly on the diagonal.
6. Heat a skillet over medium heat and warm the tortillas. Place two to a plate and divide the sliced duck among the tortillas. Spoon a tablespoon or so of the tomatillo sauce over the duck and add a half-teaspoon of chile-cherry compote on top, or to taste. Sprinkle the top with fresh chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.
Each serving: 565 calories; 37 grams protein; 42 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams fiber; 27 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 174 mg. cholesterol; 464 mg. sodium.
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