From the EnRoute Kitchen: A Favorite Russian River Wine and Food Pairing
by EnRoute on February 27, 2018
As we slowly transition into spring, we invite you to warm up the last nights of winter with one of our favorite Russian River wine and food pairings: Roasted Duck Breast with Agrodolce and our flagship EnRoute Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, “Les Pommiers.”
Our winery chef, Sarah Walz, loves the subtly sweet yet sour flavor profile that a sauce agrodolce lends rich, tender meats like duck breast. For this particular recipe, we turn to saba, a grape-based syrup that can best be described as akin to balsamic but softer, rounder and less acidic. If you can’t find a high-quality saba near you, Balsamic Reserve can serve as a palate-pleasing substitute.
Roasted Duck Breast with Agrodolce, Roasted Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins
4 Duck breasts
Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper
2 Tablespoons Saba
½ Cup Pine Nuts, toasted
½ Cup Golden Raisins, plumped
2 Cups Cooked Quinoa (or grain of choice)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Remove each duck breast and pat dry. Using a sharp knife, score the duck fat by placing cross hatch cuts about an eighth of the way through the fatty layer. With most meats, we start with a very hot pan, however, in order to render the duck fat so that it’s mouthwatering yet crispy, it’s best to start with a cold stainless-steel pan. Gently place the duck breasts in the pan, fat side down, then turn the heat to medium-high. Once the meat starts sizzling lower the heat to medium-low. Render for five to seven minutes until the fat becomes golden in color. Hot spots can develop from time to time, so be sure to move the duck breasts around in your pan. Once the fat has been rendered, season the flesh side with kosher salt & fresh ground pepper. Flip the breasts and sear for approximately two minutes. Remove and allow the meat to rest five minutes before serving.
To plump the raisins, boil one cup of water turn off then add your half cup of raisins. Allow the raisins to sit for at least ten minutes (or overnight), then drain water and dry the plumped fruit on a paper towel.
While the raisins plump, pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Place a half cup of pine nuts on a sheet pan and toast for seven minutes. Pour your cooked quinoa into a bowl with one tablespoon of olive oil, a quarter teaspoon kosher salt, a few grinds of the pepper mill, the plumped raisins, and toasted pine nuts.
Warm four dinner plates, then add one duck breast, skin-side up, to each plate, along with a scoop of the quinoa salad. Gently drizzle a half tablespoon of saba over the the duck. Pull the cork on a bottle of EnRoute’s flagship Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, “Les Pommiers,” and allow the juicy fruit flavors to harmonize beautifully with the golden, crisply rendered skin and dark, tender meat.