On the Menu – Crispy Duck Breast with Fig Jam, Creamy Polenta and Sautéed Green Beans

TFK recently taught a cooking class at the Whole Foods in Valencia,  Yep, right there in the veggie section!

Ready! Set! Cook!

Ready! Set! Cook!

And we promised to share the recipes from the class.



Crispy Duck Breast with Fig Jam

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 4 Duck Breast halves with skin, approx. 8 oz each
  • 1 # mission figs, halved lengthwise
  • ¼ c aged Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Trim fat from the flesh side of the duck breasts. Turn duck over (to skin side) and score the fat in a close crosshatch pattern. Season with salt & pepper.
  2. Put breasts skin side down into heated skillet and cook over medium-low heat for 12- 15 minutes, or until richly browned and fat is rendered. Turn breasts over and cook additional 3- 5 minutes, 125° for rare or 135° for medium rare on instant read thermometer. Remove to warm platter.
  3. Pour off fat, leaving 1 Tbs. in pan. Add figs, cut side down, in single layer and cook over medium-high heat to caramelize them.
  4. Add balsamic vinegar, stir. Continue to cook until figs have softened and vinegar has thickened. Remove from heat.
  5. Slice duck breasts, layer shingle style on plate and top with figs.

Creamy Polenta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1/2 c polenta (not instant)
  • 2-3 c mineral water
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/2 c parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper


  1. Bring 2 cups of the water and salt to boil in saucepan over high heat.
  2. Gradually pour polenta into water while whisking constantly. Return to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer, whisking every 5-8 minutes until thickened, approx. 40 minutes, adding the milk, then the additional mineral water as necessary.
  3. When grains are soft and creamy, add butter and parmesan cheese, stirring. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.

Sautéed Green Beans

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 lb. green beans
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 oz pancetta, diced or julienned
  • 1 Tbs EVOO
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Juice from 1 lemon


  1. Blanch green beans in boiling, salted water for 30 seconds. Strain and plunge into ice water, “shocking” the beans.
  2. Heat skillet. Drizzle with EVOO and add pancetta. Cook until beginning to crisp.
  3. Add shallots. Cook until softened.
  4. Add green beans. Sauté green beans and allow to caramelize.
  5. Add lemon juice, stir. Season with salt & pepper, adjusting seasoning to taste.
  6. Serve.


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