Indiana Duck Breast with Zucchini, Wild Mushrooms, Pears and Pine Nut–Pear Ketchup

“The awesomely primal flavor and texture of duck too often gets lost in overly rich flabby dishes. Here, the duck’s fat carries these barely cooked vegetables and the sugary musk of the pear is expressed raw and is a background note in a ketchup that’s served warm and bears no resemblance to Heinz.” —Jonathan Brooks
By | September 15, 2014


To make the Pine Nut-Pear Ketchup:
Leave out the duck breasts while you prepare the ketchup, and preheat oven to 350°.

On low heat, sauté the yellow onion and ginger in coconut oil for 4 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté another 4 minutes. Add tomato paste and sauté 4 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer over high heat. Exercise extreme caution if choosing to purée the ketchup at this point. Otherwise, reduce heat to low and continue cooking while you fi nish the dish.

To compose the dish:
Put the duck breasts skin side down in a cold pan over medium heat with no oil or butter, allow the skin to brown and the fat to render for 10–15 minutes, periodically carefully draining the excess fat into a container for another use. Put the pan in the oven with the duck still skin side down and cook for 11 minutes, basting the fl esh side once with the fat in the pan halfway through cooking. After cooking, fl ip the duck and rest it in the pan before slicing and while preparing the vegetables.

Sauté the zucchini and mushrooms in 1 tablespoon rendered duck fat briefl y, 4–5 minutes, just long enough to get some nice caramelization on the outside. Season with salt and pepper, slice to your liking, serve with the sliced duck and ketchup, garnish with shaved onion and pear.

Recipe and Photo Courtesy of Jonathon Brooks, owner and executive chef, Milktooth


Pine Nut–Pear Ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or bacon fat
  • ½ sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 pears, diced
  • 3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon each: ground clove, curry powder, ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoos kosher salt
Dish Composition
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved horizontally
  • 1½ cups wild mushrooms, sliced thickly
  • 1 small red onion, shaved thinly
  • 1 pear, shaved thinly
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