Seared Duck Breast With Roasted Figs and Arugula Salad Recipe

By Marcus Samuelsson |

If you have a love for combining the two worlds of bitter and sweet together then look no further than this recipe. Here, the sweetness of the sugared figs along with the bitterness of arugula salad matches perfectly to enhance the seared duck. By baking the figs for this dish you will gain a succulent taste to the toppings of the dish. This duck recipe will make you the talk of the town for weeks to come. What’s also great about this simple recipe is that there aren’t too many ingredients so you won’t have a huge grocery bill after this dinner.

If you are looking to expand your horizons on creating another recipe having to do with duck then there is no better spot to look then the recipe for Duck Confit on

Adapted from Food & Wine’s Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes

Prep Details

Servings: 4


12 Kadota or Mission figs

1/3 cup sherry vinegar or cider vinegar

1 tbsp molasses

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

rock or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

1 tsp Chianti vinegar

Four 5- or 6- oz duck breasts, skin on

1 bunch arugula

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


Photo:   Renee S.

Photo: Renee S.

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Combine the vinegar, molasses, and olive oil in a small bowl and whisk until blended.

2. Place the figs, cut-side up, on a wire rack set on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the figs with vinegar marinade, then sprinkle with sugar. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until soft, and remove from oven. Decrease the oven temperature to 375F.

3. Film the bottom of a large, ovenproof saute pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium-low heat. Add the duck breasts, skin-side down, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until most of the fat renders and the skin crisps. As the breasts sear, spoon off the excess fat as it pools in the pan. When the fact has rendered, transfer the breasts to a plate and pour off all the accumulated fat. Return the breasts, skin-side up, to the pan and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast for no more than 2 to 3 minutes, then remove the breasts from the pan and allow to rest while you make and dress the salad.

4. Pick off the smallest and most tender arugula leaves and wash well. Pat dry. Toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.

5. Lay 3 figs out on each of 4 plates. Slice each duck breast on the diagonal and fan out over the figs, then nestle the arugula salad next to it.