I left work early today at 530 so as to get to Magnani’s Meats over on Hopkins Street before they closed at 630. Our own store hasn’t had any duck legs now for about three weeks despite the best efforts of the buyer, so off I went by bike.

While there I met up with Jason, lately employed in the Berkeley Bowl Cafe and now a handy butcher. I ordered a set of duck breasts and also four complete duck legs for another evening, no doubt soon. Across the street I got a few ingredients I’d need to poach a couple of those duck legs, as well as thyme for the duck leg confit I also planned to get started.

For tonight, I split the two breasts in the middle at the skin and prepared it for a simple meal tonight of maple and balsamic/lime glazed duck breast, accompanied by fingerling potatoes in duck fat and herbs de Provence. And it occurred to me that I was using one of the very first sauces on duck that I ever tried. I did duck for the first time last year for my brothers-in-law.

I started by seasoning the duck breast on both sides with salt and pepper, heating up an iron Dutch oven, and parboiling the potatoes, all cut small so that they would cook quickly and evenly when sautéed. For the duck breast, 8 minutes for the skin side and about 4 minutes for the other, then into the oven at 250F for about five minutes while I prepared the salad and the duck sauce.

As the salad was simply a beefsteak tomato sliced thinly, salted lightly, with a simple EVOO and lime juice vinaigrette and capers, I put my attention on the duck sauce. Leaving a scant teaspoon of the rendered duck fat in the Dutch oven, I added the lime juice, elderberry balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup to the pot and heated it up a bit.

Delicious sauce, nearly perfectly cooked duck, nice potatoes, and great, simple salad. Wifey found the duck slightly drier than usual, though I didn’t find it as dry as she did. Still, overall, quite nice for a Wednesday night,