Successfully pulling off a recipe is undoubtedly a great feeling, but nothing comes close to pulling a successful dish out of thin air. Life has been particularly crazy for me these past few weeks, and one thing that's fallen by the wayside has been grocery shopping. Luckily, I've had a freezer full of random leftover meats, a fridge full of odds and ends (a half bundle of parsley here, 3 eggs there — you get the point), and a pantry full of staple items. I came to realize, with this dish, that sometimes that's all you need.
After taking stock of what I had — 1 duck breast, half of an eggplant, 1.5 tomatoes, the aforementioned half bundle of parsley, a couple lemons, a can of cannellini beans, and some garlic — I decided to slice the eggplant and tomatoes and throw them in the broiler, make a lemon-garlic cannellini bean salad with fresh parsley, and sear the duck breast to perfection.
Each element was incredibly easy to make and fairly simple on its own, but when assembled together, the dish was far more complex than I would have ever expected when starting this journey. The charred eggplant and the lemony, garlicky cannellini beans gave the dish a subtle Mediterranean flair, while the fresh parsley was a nice, herbaceous complement to the meaty duck.
Even though following my recipe below goes against the "getting creative with random leftover ingredients" spirit of this dish, I still highly recommend you make this pronto.
- 2 magret duck breasts (around 14 ounces each)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 eggplant, sliced into discs
- 3 tomatoes, sliced into discs
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves and stems, roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Turn on broiler to high.
- Line eggplant and tomatoes on a large baking tray; drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil for 8-10 minutes, or until desired tenderness. (I recommend broiling until the eggplant is slightly charred.)
- Pat the duck breasts dry with a paper towel. Score the fat side. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Put breasts skin side down in a cold skillet. Turn the heat to medium-high. Cook until fat is mostly rendered and the skin is brown and crisp (about 6-8 minutes). Turn over and sear the other side until golden brown (about 3-5 minutes). A meat thermometer should read 125°F-130°F for rare to medium-rare. Let the duck breasts rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- While vegetables are broiling and duck is searing, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet with garlic. Cook until fragrant (about 1 minute); add the cannellini beans. Cook until beans and garlic are soft, stirring often.
- In a large bowl, add the beans and garlic and combine with the lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley. Toss to combine well.
- Slice the duck breast into 1/2"-thick slices. Assemble plates with charred vegetables on the bottom, sliced duck on top, and cannellini bean salad on top.