2 large onions
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil or butter
2 tbsp (30 mL) pure maple syrup
3 tsp (15 mL) finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme leaves, or a combination
2 tsp (10 mL) apple cider vinegar
2 to 3 boneless duck breasts (enough for 4 servings)
1 green apple
1 tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter
100g blue cheese
To make marmalade, peel onions then cut in half lengthwise. Place cut side down onto cutting board and slice each half into thin strips. Mince garlic. Coat a medium-size pan with oil and set over low heat. Add onions and garlic to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 25 minutes. Stir in maple syrup. Increase heat to medium and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 15 minutes. Add the rosemary and cook for 5 more minutes until the onions start to brown, stirring often to avoid burning the onions. Stir in the vinegar and salt then remove from heat. Set aside.
Pat duck breast dry with paper towels. Place duck onto a cutting board, skin side up. Using the tip of a sharp knife, slice into the duck skin, only skin deep, in diagonal lines about ½ inch (1 cm) apart. This will help render the fat from the duck and create a wonderful crisp skin.
Set a large frying pan over medium heat. Do not add any oil. When pan is hot, add duck breasts, skin side down. Cook until skin is crisp and lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes, carefully draining fat from the pan occasionally. Turn duck breast over and continue to cook for 3 minutes (for rare), increasing time by a few minutes for medium-rare, depending on the size of the breasts.
Meanwhile, peel and core apple, then cut in half and slice into thin wedges.
When duck is cooked, remove to a large plate. Drain all but 1 tbsp (15 mL) duck fat from pan (save this in the refrigerator for the next time you are making roasted potatoes). Add butter and apple slices to pan and sauté, stirring occasionally, until apples are fork-tender.
Place duck on a cutting board. Slice breasts diagonally. Arrange apple slices in the centre of each plate then fan duck slices on top. Add salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Top with a generous dollop of the marmalade and sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese. Serve immediately.
Photo: Ash Nayler