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Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 7.
Place the pepper on a plate and firmly press the duck breasts skin-side down into it.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan with a heatproof handle.
Fry the duck breasts, skin-side down, over a medium heat until golden brown, about 4–5 minutes.
They should be cooked on the skin-side only to prevent them drying out.
Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
Remove the duck from the oven and allow to rest for 3–5 minutes.
Poached Balsamic Figs:
Prick the figs with a skewer, then place the figs and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan.
Heat gently for 4–5 minutes, then remove from the heat.
Garlic Crisps with Jus Gras:
Place the garlic in a small saucepan and add one-third of the milk.
Bring to the near boil.
Strain and return the garlic to the saucepan.
Repeat this procedure twice.
Pat the garlic dry with paper towel.
Heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan and fry the garlic until golden brown, 4–5 minutes.
Drain on paper towels and season with salt.
To serve, slice each breast into five medaliions and arrange in a semi-circle on four plates.
Slice the figs in half and sit behind the duck.
Place a small bunch of watercress and some garlic crisps on either side of the fig, and drizzle a little jus gras over each breast.
Duck is a lovely rich meat. The classic ‘Duck a la Orange’ works so well because the acidity of the citrus fruit cuts through the richness of the duck. In this dish I use instead the acidity of the balsamic. It’s important to blanch the slices of garlic so that the flavour is not overpowering.
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