We were blown away by the range, price and incredible freshness of the produce in the French markets we had visited on this retreat. On one such early morning visit, I found myself in a state of some trepidation, wondering what to buy for that evening’s meal. The apprehensiveness was brought on by a decision made about ten hours previously. Saying “Yes” to the voice in my head; “Will I open another bottle of Rosé?” was not a good idea. An excess of wine, no matter how pleasant, is of no assistance to decision-making. I couldn’t make a choice. The lamb looked nice. But, what to have with it? The beef looked lovely. But they cut it in such a strange way. The fish also looked excellent but, which fish? How might I cook it? What would I serve alongside? Too many decisions.
Hence, when I saw a fantastic big display of burstingly (yes, there is such a word) fresh cherries, I knew it had to be Duck Breast, Broad Beans and Tangy Cherry Sauce. This is really very easy to prepare. First, pop the ‘market fresh’ broad beans out of their shells.
Rinse and photograph the cherries.
Add two tablespoons of sugar to the cherries (in a saucepan, not in the colander). Heat until the cherries are soft and there is a delicious tangy sauce.
Side note on French markets and cherries: One can buy pretty well anything related to cooking in the average French market. Though I didn’t get one on this trip, I since bought a cherry stoner. (Not a cheery stoner. That’s a hangover from the ’60s). It will feature at a later date, I’m sure.
Cut some diagonal slices through the fat but not the meat of the huge duck breast.
Fry the breast, skin side down on a medium heat for 7 minutes without poking or messing around. Turn the meat over and fry for an additional 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Use the 5 minutes to boil the beans. You should have time to spare. They only need to be warmed through, if they are very fresh. Slice the duck into thin slices on the same lines as the fat cuts. Spoon some of the sauce over the meat and serve with fresh potatoes.
I served it with a nice St. Emilion red. Given that we were on holidays, one thing led to another, as it were, and the next day became another decision free zone. That’s what holidays are all about, aren’t they?