Need a new appetizer for the holidays?
I loved the Maple Leaf Farms duck we ate this summer in Indiana and I finally found some in California so I tried out a new appetizer using duck breast and a Jalapeño Pickled Apricot recipe I created. The Pickled Apricot brings a fresh, colorful tangy flavor that enhances the duck. Most of the recipe can be made ahead and then assembled right before a party. I made them with Puff Pastry and with Sweet Potato Waffle Fries, both were great.
This looks like a long list of ingredients, but most of it is for a chimichurri oil and pickled Apricots which are the make ahead elements. The pickled apricots also are great mixed in a salad or added to chicken tacos.
- 1 Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast
- Kosher salt
- 2 tsp cumin seeds, divided
- 1 tsp Coriander seed
- 8 dried apricots, very thinly sliced crosswise
- 1/2 red onion thinly sliced, divided
- 2 Jalapeño peppers, julienned
- 1 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/3 Cup sugar
- 1/4 Cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 Cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 Cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 tsp.Red pepper flakes
- 1/2 package of puff pastry OR 1 package of sweet potato waffle fries
- 4 oz shredded gruyere cheese
Jalapeno Pickled Apricots (prepare in the morning or day ahead)
- Cut 1/2 of the julienned red onion into 1 inch pieces and place in a 16 oz Mason jar.
- Add thinly slice dried apricots to jar.
- Cut 1 of the jalapeño peppers into one inch julienned slices and add to jar.
In a small sauce pan, heat vinegar, 1 tsp. cumin and coriander seeds, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt until it comes to boil and sugar has dissolved. Carefully pour into jar with onions, apricots and jalapeños. When it has cooled some, put a lid on and keep on counter or refrigerator.
Chimichurri Oil (prepare in the morning or day ahead)
Put parsley, cilantro, chopped garlic, onion, 1 tsp. salt, red pepper flakes, one chopped jalapeño and olive oil into food processor or blender (I use a NutriBullet). Blend until smooth. Set aside to let flavors meld.
- Thaw duck breast and then score the skin side of the duck. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Season skin side of duck with salt, pepper and ground cumin seeds. Heat oven proof pan over medium heat.
- Place duck skin side down in hot pan and sear for 6-8 minutes until the skin is crispy and lightly brown and some of the duck fat has been rendered.
- Remove from pan, drain the fat into a small ramekin and set aside.
- Return duck to pan skin side up and sear for 2 more minutes.
- Put pan in to oven and roast for 10 minutes or until thermometer reaches 155 degrees. Remove from pan and let rest.
Assemble using Puff Pastry (Christmas or Easter)
- Thaw puff pastry for 40 minutes and roll out to shape into a square, then cut into 16 rectangles using a pizza cutter or sharp knive. To prevent pastry from puffing too much, use a fork for poke holes (to allow steam to escape.)
- Brush pastry with reserved duck fat, than sprinkle shredded cheese on each piece.
- Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
- If pastry puffs too much, use a small fork to press down centers once it’s removed from oven.
- While pastry is cooking, thinly slice the duck into 16 pieces, allowing for a piece of the crispy skin on each slice.
- Strain chimichurri sauce so you have a green oil. (Add vinegar to the solids and save for a sauce or salad dressing)
Place a slice of duck on each pastry. Top with a few pieces of pickled apricot, onion and jalapeño, then drizzle with chimichurri oil.
Assemble using Sweet Potato Waffle Fries (Thanksgiving or gluten free)
- Similar to using Puff Pastry, spread frozen waffle fries on parchment covered cookie sheet.
- Baste waffle fries with a little bit of duck fat, then sprinkle with grated cheese.
- Bake as directed on package and remove from oven when crispy.
- Remove 1/3 cup of pickled apricot mixture from jar and finely dice into a salsa.
- Cut cooled duck breast in half lengthwise then slice thinly crosswise, allowing for some crispy skin on each half slice.
Place a slice of duck of each waffle fry, topped by apricot salsa and chimicchuri oil.