I was told to sear the duck for 15 minutes on each side and then put it in the oven for 10. Does this make sense? I wasn't told what to sear it in.
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I like to use cast iron. Not only do I get a great sear but I can put in in the oven too. I have used both regular cast iron and enameled such as Le Creuset with great success.
I would sear them skin side down in a very hot skillet. Since duck is high fat, I wouldn't think you'd need anything else.
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When I sear duck breast, I use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet and very little cooking fat, just a thin coating of oil (grapeseed or vegetable) or butter. You heat the pan over medium high and add the duck breasts, skin side down. And yes, you usually brown both sides, but usually not necessary to finish in the oven, unless they're very thick. But the time will depend on what heat you choose, and also what oven temp you're using. 15 minutes of searing on each side is too long, though. Should be more like 5 minutes per side.
Score the skin first ! A thin coat of canola oil. Wait for Pam to get very hot then skin side down and reduce heat a bit. Check in the minutes, flip, then put in preheated oven until med rare (350F)Save the duck fat - it's expensive and great with potato .
We pan fry our boneless duck breasts for about 8 minutes a side, then tent it on a board for a while before cutting into slices and serving atop a nice risotto. It comes out pink, but that is what we like. It seems like the times you mention are too long.
I use a non-stick pan, not too big or else the fat splatters like crazy!
Cast iron is by far the best for duck. It conducts heat very well and keeps a consistent high temp for a great sear. I wouldn't use much cooking fat other than a little bit to get started. The duck will easily render enough fat to cook it in. You may even have to drain some to avoid splatter.