Why It Works
- Roasting duck crowns with high heat for a short period of time keeps the meat rosy and moist without any risk of overcooking and drying it out.
- The duck finishes cooking out of the oven, relying on carryover cooking to achieve the desired level of doneness.
- The dry skin and firm texture of dry-aged duck allow it to cook and brown very quickly.
After breaking down and dry-aging ducks on your own, make the work worth it with this show-stopping roast duck breast. A hot-and-fast approach quickly browns the skin and renders fat. The ducks are pulled from the oven before they reach their target internal temperature so as not to risk overcooking, and carryover cooking takes care of bringing the breasts to a juicy, rosy medium.
Adjust oven rack to middle position, and preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Using a sharp knife, remove wishbone from each duck crown, then pluck any remaining feathers from the breast area. If ducks have not been brushed with shio koji, season them all over with kosher salt (there is no need to salt them if they have been treated with shio koji). Transfer, breast side up, to a wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
Roast ducks, rotating baking sheet after 8 minutes until internal temperature registers between 120°F (49°C) and 125°F (52°C) on an instant-read thermometer at the thickest part of the breast, about 16 minutes.
Transfer baking sheet to kitchen counter, and let duck crowns rest until internal temperature registers between 130°F (54°C) for medium-rare and 135°F (57°C) for medium on an instant-read thermometer at the thickest part of the breast, about 15 minutes. If duck does not reach target internal temperature, return to oven to finish cooking, taking care not to overcook it.
Once rested, transfer duck crowns to cutting board, carve breasts, then slice into pieces; reserve carcasses for duck stock. Serve right away, passing coarse sea salt and duck jus (if using) at the table.
A duck "crown" describes a whole bone-in duck breast without the legs attached. Instructions for breaking down whole ducks to yield duck crowns can be found online. Instructions for dry-aging ducks can also be found online. Our preferred treatment for duck skin for this recipe is to brush it with blended shio koji throughout the dry-aging process.
This recipe was developed with Pekin and Alina ducks, but it will work with Muscovy ducks as well.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Once roasted, the duck is best enjoyed immediately.