The maple lavender duck breast at Artisans at the Lake Placid Lodge isn’t your typical game dish. We share the details, ingredients, and recipe here.
Rich in fat from the local duck, sweet from the maple syrup, floral from the lavender, spice from the Szechuan, and sour from the pickled rhubarb – you get a little bit of everything in Artisans’s maple lavender duck breast. “It’s one of those dishes where you’re going to experience the full scale of flavors in one bite, but they all work together – like an orchestra in perfect tune,” says Derek Leinonen, executive chef of legendary farm-to-table restaurant that makes its home off the lobby in the Lake Placid Lodge in the Adirondacks of New York.
While featuring lavender, maple syrup, and vegetables all sourced locally – local being a very common theme in the rustic fire-lit restaurant – the signature dish’s starring ingredient is perhaps the local Moulard duck breast from a 43-acre farm in Ferndale, New York. “It’s not a gamey type of duck – gamey sometimes frightening people off – but one that cuts like beef and features a similar flavor, like filet.” But if you’re not going be in the neighborhood to try this dish out personally anytime soon – or you have, and you can’t get enough of it – Leinonen details a simplified version for you to recreate at home.
Spiced Duck Breast
4 ea. duck breast, skin-on
2 tsp. dry Szechuan pepper or cracked black pepper
2 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
½ c. maple syrup
Spring Pea Puree
5 c. fresh peas
For Spring Pea Puree
1. Put peas in blender with couple ice cubes and blend for maximum 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Once the puree is completely smooth, season to taste and set aside in refrigerator for later use.
For Spiced Duck Breast
1. Combine the Szechuan, coriander, Lavender, and fennel in dry pan on medium heat and toast five minutes to release the aromatics.
2. Place the spices into mortar and pestle, roughly crush or use small sauté pan and crush on cutting board. Set aside.
3. Score the duck breast in crosshatch pattern and season with salt and pepper.
4. Place each breast skin side down in a dry pan over medium to high heat and slowly render down the fat for 2 minutes. As the fat is released from the breast be sure to remove any excess from the pan by tilting it towards you and taking out with spoon slowly. Reserve fat for later use.
5. Continue cooking for 2 minutes and then turn over and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
6. Finish in oven for minutes 4 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit or until internal temperature is 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 to 7 minutes.
7. After resting, place breast flesh side down into crushed Szechuan, coriander, Lavender, and fennel spice mix.
8. Return to medium hot pan, sear the spice duck for a minute, then coat the duck in the maple syrup and reduce until sticky glaze. Remove from pan and let duck rest one minute.
Putting It All Together
1. Spoon pea puree and pull horizontal across top of plate.
2. Place blanched veggie of choice in center of plate (we suggest blanched ramps, but you can also do snap peas, carrots, cauliflower or broccoli florets).
3. Slice duck crosswise, then place first cut of duck with the diamond cut skin up and angle the next piece of duck horizontal with cut facing up. Spoon reserve fat drippings over duck breast and serve.
Where to Stay Lake Placid Lodge