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Pan-Seared Rosemary Duck Breasts/Tofu

(recipe, Peter Berley)

Introduction

I use Long Island, or Pekin, duck breasts, which are relatively lean, for this dish. The duck fat must be rendered and poured off (save it for the soba noodles if you like), and some oil is needed to crisp the tofu, but otherwise the techniques I use for the tofu and duck are similar, and they yield equally delightful results. If you like, double the duck or tofu components and leave out the other.

Ingredients

    Seasoning
    1. 4 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
    2. 2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
    3. ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    4. ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
    Duck
    1. 2 (7-8 oz.) skin-on boneless Long Island (Pekin) duck breasts
    2. ½ tsp. sea salt or kosher salt
    3. Freshly ground black pepper
    4. Juice of ½ lemon
    Tofu
    1. 1 (14-16 oz.) package extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 4 slabs
    2. ¾ tsp. sea salt or kosher salt
    3. Freshly ground black pepper
    4. 2 Tbsp. neutral vegetable oil, such as canola or grapeseed
    5. Juice of ½ lemon
    6. Chopped scallions, for serving
    7. Toasted nori, cut into strips, for serving

    Steps

    1. For the seasoning mixture:
    2. In a small bowl, stir together the rosemary, garlic, black pepper, and cayenne.
    3. To marinate the duck:
    4. Rub the duck breasts all over with the salt. Sprinkle half of the seasoning mixture on the flesh sides of the duck breasts. Sandwich them with the flesh sides together (skin sides out) on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
    5. To marinate the tofu:
    6. Place the tofu on a plate or baking dish that holds the slices in a single layer. Rub the tofu all over with salt, then rub the remaining seasoning mixture evenly into the tofu. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
    7. To cook the duck:
    8. Take the duck out of the refrigerator and use a paper towel to wick away any moisture (it's fine if some of the garlic and herbs rub off). Season both sides with black pepper.
    9. Heat a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Place the duck breasts skin side down in the skillet and cook undisturbed until most of the fat has been rendered, about 8 minutes. Pour off the fat from the pan (save it for another use if desired). Flip the breasts and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer the duck to a platter and turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice to the pan and scrape up any caramelized bits.
    10. Meanwhile, cook the tofu:
    11. Take the tofu out of the refrigerator and use a paper towel to wick away any moisture (it's fine if some of the garlic and herbs rub off). Season both sides with black pepper.
    12. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the tofu, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook undisturbed for about 4 minutes. When a golden brown crust forms on the bottom, the tofu will release easily from the pan. Flip the tofu and cook for 4 minutes more. Transfer tofu to a platter and turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice to the pan and scrape up any caramelized bits. Remove from the heat.
    13. On the plate:
    14. Serve the duck and tofu with their respective pan juices and garnished with scallions and nori.

    Note

    Editor’s note: What’s missing from the Peter Berley recipes on Culinate are his hints on meal planning, tofu pressing, and sesame-seed toasting, as well as tasty tidbits on nori, mirin, and burdock. By all means, get your hands on his book for the full meal deal.