In France, the term magret refers specifically to the breast of a fattened Moulard duck, while everything else is simply a duck breast. Since 1986, this term has been adopted in the United States. Magret is a bit chewier than regular duck breast because the pectoral muscles of fattened birds become stronger as the liver enlarges. What is lost in tenderness, however, is gained in the flavor the liver imparts to the meat; a richness absent in regular duck meat. Magret is most tender when cooked rare, is allowed to rest after cooking, and is sliced thinly on the bias just before serving.
1 Moulard duck breast (2 sides), separated
2 tablespoons olive oil
30 whole black peppercorns, coursely crushed
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup brandy
2½ cups veal stock
1 tablespoon red currant jelly
½ cup heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Score the skin side of the magret almost through to the meat in a tight crisscross pattern. Brush both sides with olive oil. Mix 2/3 of the crushed peppercorns with the salt. Rub the mixture generously over both sides of the magret.
3. Heat heavy-bottom skillet over low heat. When skillet is hot, place breast skin side down. Brown the magret without turning. Discard any fat throughout the process. Most of the skin side fat should render, until skin is crispy. About 7 minutes.
4. Turn the magret over. Place skillet with magret into preheated oven for 5 minutes, or until center is rare. Remove from oven. Let rest on a board for 5-7 minutes. For service, slice duck, skin side up on a 45-degree angle, into thin slices.
5. While magret is resting, discard any fat remaining in the skillet. Return it to the stove over high heat. Add white wine and brandy. Reduce by 2/3, then add the veal stock and remaining crushed peppercorns. Reduce again until the sauce has a syrupy consistency.
6. Strain sauce through a fine sieve or cheesecloth. Return to low heat. Add red currant jelly and heavy cream, but don't allow to boil.
7. To serve, ladle 2 tablespoons of sauce onto the center of each plate. Arrange magret slices in a fan shape over the sauce.