Rich, juicy duck meat pairs perfectly with fruit flavors. So what better way to showcase succulent nectarines than in a pan sauce drizzled over pan-seared, crispy-skinned duck breasts? The combo is as luscious as it sounds, especially with some balsamic glaze added in to create sweet and tangy overtones. With a light almond watercress salad and zesty lemon rice on the side, it turns into the epitome of a luxurious summertime meal.
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Chicken Stock Concentrate
Wash and dry all produce. Pat duck dry with a paper towel. Using a sharp knife, make shallow slits in skin in a crosshatch pattern. Season with plenty of salt and pepper.
Add duck skin-side down to a medium pan and place over medium heat. Cook until fat renders and skin is crisp, 10-15 minutes, pouring off and reserving fat as it renders. (TIP: Lower heat if skin burns.) Flip duck over and cook to desired doneness, 2-5 minutes more. Remove from pan and set aside.
Meanwhile, cut nectarine into ¼-inch cubes. Peel shallot, then slice into thin rings. Thinly slice scallions on a diagonal. Pick and chop enough mint leaves to give you 1 tsp (save the rest for another use). Zest lemon, then squeeze 2 TBSP juice into a small bowl.
Add almonds and a drizzle of oil to a small pan and place over medium-high heat. Toast, tossing, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate, season with salt, and set aside. Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a medium pot, then stir in rice. Cover, lower heat, and reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Once done, stir in scallions, lemon zest, and 1 TBSP butter; season with salt and pepper.
Return pan used for duck to medium heat and add 1 TBSP reserved fat. Add shallot and nectarine. Cook until just softened, 4-6 minutes. Stir in balsamic glaze, scraping up any browned bits on bottom of pan. Stir in 3 TBSP water, 1 TBSP butter, and 1 tsp stock concentrate (save the rest for another use). Remove pan from heat. Stir in chopped mint.
In a medium bowl, toss watercress with a large drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice to taste (start with half and add more from there). Season with salt and pepper. Toss in almonds. Slice duck crosswise and divide between plates. Spoon nectarine sauce over. Arrange rice and salad to the side.