2 boneless duck breast halves, skin on
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black or green peppercorns
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup white wine
2 tablespoons vinegar
For the gingered scallions:
12 scallions, trimmed
1 2-inch (5-centimeter) piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
To make the duck breasts:
Using a sharp knife, score the skin side of the duck breasts in a crosshatch pattern cutting into the fat. Be careful not to cut through to the meat. Season breasts with pepper, rubbing it into the meat on all sides.
In a shallow baking dish, combine the soy sauce, maple syrup, and grated ginger. Place the duck breasts in the dish and marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the duck breasts from the marinade, reserving the liquid. Drain the breasts and pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the duck breasts, skin side down, and lower the heat to medium-high. Cook until the skin side is golden and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Turn and sear the other side another 3 minutes. Transfer breasts to a baking pan, cover loosely with foil, and cook in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the frying pan. Over medium-high heat, deglaze the pan by bringing the wine and vinegar to a boil and scraping up the crispy bits. Boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the reserved marinade and cook until thickened, at least 5 minutes.
To make the gingered scallions: Cut the scallions in half lengthwise and then cut on the diagonal into slices about 3 inches long. Cut the ginger into matchsticks.
Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan until very hot but not smoking. Add the scallions and ginger and fry over medium-high heat, without stirring, for 5 minutes or until the scallions are golden. Stir and continue cooking another 2 minutes or so.
Arrange the gingered scallions on a platter. Slice each duck breast crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and pour the sauce over the meat, stirring to coat. Serve atop the gingered scallions.
Makes 4 servings
Adapted from Market Chronicles: Stories & Recipes from Montreal's Marche Jean-Talon, by Susan Semenak (Les Editions Cardinal, 2011)