I call this yakitori style because of the sauce — because yaki means chicken and tori means skewered grilling, and this dish is neither! But the simmering nage (broth) that you bathe the duck in reminds me of yakitori bars all over Japan. The cooking technique for the duck can be used to great effect in other recipes too, and the only mistakes you can make are not cooking your duck slowly enough or overcooking it. At home we team this dish with steamed Japanese short-grain rice, a cucumber salad with rice wine vinaigrette and grilled asparagus or Chinese broccoli. We slice the breasts and serve them family style. I love the large magret duck breasts from D’Artagnan for this, but any local ducks (Pekins are most popular) will work just beautifully.
Japanese Yakitori-Style Pan-Roasted Duck Breast
- 1 teaspoon dashi powder
- 3 cups sake
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 3/4 cup mirin
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- Three 1-pound duck breasts, skinned
- 2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced, for garnish
- Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Active: 35 min
Total Time: 1 hr 35 min
In a small saucepan, stir the dashi powder into 1 cup of water until dissolved. Add the sake, soy sauce, mirin and sugar and bring to boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until syrupy and reduced to 1 cup, about 1 hour. Transfer all but 1/3 cup of the sauce to a jar and reserve for later use.
In a large skillet, heat the peanut oil over moderate heat until shimmering. Add the duck breasts and cook until almost medium-rare, about 4 minutes per side. Add the reserved 1/3 cup of sauce to the pan and cook the duck breasts for 4 minutes longer, swirling the pan and turning the duck once or twice until glazed. Remove from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes.
Transfer the duck to a platter and drizzle with the glaze from the pan. Sprinkle the duck with the scallions and sesame seeds and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Rewarm before using.