Magret de canard

Or duck breast to people who prefer their meals in English.

Magret de canard is a French classic, originally from the South-West, where the ducks are fattened for foie gras and their breasts are huge. In the UK, Gressingham duck breasts are the kind you will see most often.

It is a simple thing to do, score the skin of the duck and salt it, then sear it skin side down in a very hot cast iron pan until the fat starts to run and the skin has crisped up a bit.

Then, put the pan into a hot oven for no more than 10 minutes or so. You want the duck pink, not grey.

Leave it to rest for a few minutes while you plate up your simple green salad and frites or new potatoes and make a fairly sharp vinaigrette. I use good olive oil, red wine vinegar, a bit of salt and pepper and Dijon mustard, Maille for preference.

Slice the duck thinly and serve.

We had this last night with a bottle of 2007 Domaine des Eyssards Bergerac rouge, to keep the Sud-Ouest connection going.

We first discovered this wine when we were on holiday in the region in 2006 and we bought a couple of cases of the 2005 direct from the vigneron, Pascal Cuisset.

Luckily, his wines are available in Waitrose, so we can keep on drinking these lovely full-bodied wines for a while longer. Bergerac is a good alternative to Bordeaux, slightly cheaper to claret and a bit further inland than the Bordeaux appellations, and well worth looking out.

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