Duck breast with honey and balsamic apricots


First I would like to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for the warm and encouraging words you sent yesterday upon reading about my writing endeavors. I am quite overwhelmed and incredibly grateful. I was so excited about your feedback that I answered comments well into the night and felt quite tired this morning (getting old). I didn’t even feel about cooking or eating much for lunch. So here is a simple dish that I put together in under 10 minutes (OK 20). I think you’ll like it for its simplicity and potential wow factor next time you have guests over. Great textures, beautiful colors and surprising flavors!


For two people:

  1. Sear a duck breast on low heat. Fat side first! Get rid of the excess fat in the pan as you go. Keep about 4 tablespoon worth of the sweated fat towards the end. Keep it in the pan.
  2. Take the meat out (it should still be a little bloody in the center) and place the apricots cut in half in the pan where the duck fat remains. Sear them 5 minutes on each side until they brown slightly.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of honey, salt and pepper to taste
  4. Put the meat back in the pan (30 seconds on each side to warm it up)


Note 1: duck breasts are to be served pink like lamb chops! If that is not cooked enough for you, EAT SOMETHING ELSE! Just kidding (you know how when people tell you they’re just kidding, they are never kidding at all?… :0)


Note 2: on low heat, I usually leave it 8 to 10 minutes on the fat side and only color it on the other side (2 minutes?)  yet so tasty!

Note 3: remember that duck fat is REALLY good for you!!! Never be afraid of using it!! The meat itself is very lean!

Note 4: serve this with potatoes or fresh pasta + green vegetables. I wanted to focus on the duck/apricot pairing today + I was too bloody lazy to even consider making pasta…



86 Comments Add yours

  1. That apricot looks like deep pile velvet. Love duck breast though don’t have it very often as it tends to be expensive. Never thought of it with apricots, especially balsamic apricots, but it sounds delicious.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It really was dear Dorothy. Maybe I’ll get to cook it for you someday 😉

  2. I love that you consider this a fast, easy lunch.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Why it is! 😉 😀

      1. You are adorable. I love your idea of a fast, easy lunch. Tellement français! 😉

  3. vkhanson says:

    HMMMM. It is almost apricot season here and I have two young Drakes (who where supposed to be females because I love baking with their eggs, but grew boy parts) named “Dinner” and “Supper” and I had the good fortune to find this blog recipe. Thank you!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! Now you make me feel like I gave you a reason to commit murder 😀 What the hell, go for it 🙂

  4. prettyloved says:

    Absolutely in love with your page. The pictures and posts are so beautiful. Thank you for inspiring me! 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Why, thank you so much! I am so glad you liked my little blog. I hope to see you soon and often 🙂

  5. savannabel says:

    I’ve only just started following you as I am a new blogger on WordPress. Your photography is very inspiring, and I particularly loved this recipe for its simplicity. Thank you!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Why thank you Annabel! Welcome to WordPress. You will enjoy blogging here very much. I hope you drop by my French heaven often 😉

  6. Margot says:

    Another gorgeous dish Stephane… along with an array of stunning photos! 🙂 Bookmarked for apricot season!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Next time I’ll try peaches… I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe dear Margot!

  7. Bonjour! Merci beaucoup pour les “likes” sur mon blog. J’ai commencé à regarder sur votre blog.. Waauw! Je suis très impressionée. Vos photos sont magnifiques. Du coup, vous avez une abonnée en plus!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Quel plaisir vous me faites! Bienvenue!!!

  8. Angeline M says:

    Very difficult to look at these photos before I’ve had dinner yet (lamb chops tonight). The only duck I’m familiar with is the duck that used to be sold in San Francisco’s Chinatown years ago…hanging in the shops, already roasted…not so stylish a photo would that make.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Lamb chops are one of my all time favorite dishes 🙂 Yes I remember the San Francisco ducks quite well. They are delicious 😉

  9. sara says:

    Never mind the duck – omg your photography and writing is delicious! Thanks for liking my post and bringing me over here 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I am so glad you like my little blog Sara! Welcome to my French heaven! 😉

  10. MrsAubreyB says:

    I’ve always wanted to try duck but I’ve been too scared. This…looks incredible though!!! I think I’d like to try it!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m sure you’d absolutely LOVE it. I don’t know one single person who doesn’t love it, French or not 😉

  11. Agree completely on the eat pink or don’t eat at all! Great post with lovely photos as usual.

    1. My French Heaven says:


      1. PS even worse is people cutting spaghetti 😉

        1. My French Heaven says:

          I’d shoot them on sight!

          1. You’re a man after my own heart 🙂

  12. skd says:

    The dish looks gorgeous. I am feeling hungry suddenly 😋

    1. My French Heaven says:


  13. gypsygurl64 says:

    I discovered balsamic vinegar a few years ago. I love it! I use it for almost everything!! It is wonderful with strawberries!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Take a searing and inject a splash inside cherry tomatoes. It’s delicious and will take your guests by surprise 😉

  14. juliabarrett says:

    I can’t wait for your book! In the meantime… My husband loves duck. I can’t cook it or eat it because I once had a pet duck named Quackettes. He was a good duck. But yes, duck fat is really good for you!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Poor Quackettes! I’m glad I never had a pet duck as a kid for I love it so much. It is also at the core of our culinary traditions here in the South West of France… I promise I won’t make any for you when you come visit 😉

      1. juliabarrett says:

        But prawns would be great! I’ve never had a pet prawn.

        1. My French Heaven says:

          I have. They’re really boring though… Impossible to train 🙂

  15. goingplacesbr says:

    I knew our Oregon Pinot Noir country was on the same latitude as the Bordeaux region but it seems maybe other agricultural crops run similarly also…..apricots are coming into season….this will be a great recipe to try. Thanks.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I think I’ll have to try it with a nice pork loin next time… Yummmmm!

  16. Oh, so simple yet luscious! And I’m with you on the “if you can’t eat it pink, eat something else”.:)

  17. Conor Bofin says:

    Lovely post indeed. Excellent use of light.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks friend!

  18. Sange & Erika says:

    Tantalizing apricots… especially the one au naturel. Without the duck fat however (they are not raised for meat where we live), we are relegated to feasting with our eyes 😉

    1. My French Heaven says:

      One more good reason to come visit me! 😉

  19. mckinneyjodi says:

    OMG – Have to agree with all above on that first photo! Can you tell what settings you used to capture it? Jaw-dropping AWE!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Canon 5D Mark III with a 100mm macro lens and a tripod. Full manual mode.

  20. Mmmmmmm. Delish.


  21. Lisa says:

    Your meal looks delicious and I love your plate pattern! Hugz Lisa and Bear

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Lisa!! I have dozens of those old plates, all with different patterns. I am always looking for new ones when I visit local brocantes… I’m so glad someone noticed 😉

  22. That looks delicious. My husband has been asking me to make duck for awhile now but I have always been too scared to try cooking it. I will have to give your recipe a try.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Please do! It is such a tasty meat. Very healthy too!!

  23. pinkagendist says:

    I think a book with this sort of format you use here would be wonderful. More or less a conversation with the reader. Elizabeth David and Carol Cutler did it so well, but for some reason now everything is very cut and dry- and boring.
    A bit of talk about style also adds charm. Through the years I’ve discovered that there are many things that the average non-French person doesn’t know i.e. appropriate napkin size. It’s so much nicer to eat with proper large French napkins. The world of cutlery and argenterie for the table; buy a little salt cellar (or even invent one with a tiny terracotta plant pot), don’t plonk a plastic container in front of your guests. The use of portes couteaux. The maintenance of carbon steel blades as on the knife you have pictured above. NO SCENTED CANDLES at the dining table. The overwhelming smell of peach and chemicals detracts from the taste of ANYTHING. How flower arrangements and candelabra shouldn’t function as a Berlin wall separating your guests into east and west. Don’t buy ground pepper, grind it yourself. The same for parmesan; powdered cheese is a travesty. There are so many little, easy things that make such a tremendous difference and if people know what they are, they can transform their daily lives (with a few little tweaks) into something truly special.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      WOW! Such great feedback. Thank you!!! All the things you mentioned seem common or usual to me, so I never really thought of them as things people would like to read about. I had written a post on table string a while back, but that’s about all I’ve put out on the subject… Thanks again! Very valuable comment!! By the way, I can’t read your blog anymore. It’s marked as private. Too bad really… Have a nice week 😉

      1. pinkagendist says:

        I know! It all seems obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people just don’t know.
        I have to take my blog private for a while, for business reasons. I’m disputing an ‘extra’ tax bill from last year and my lawyer thinks my life shouldn’t be on display during the process 🙂

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Good call! These bastards will try to get you any way they can…

  24. ladyredspecs says:

    I’ve run out of superlatives…..fabulous photos and food! I too audibly gasped at that first shot!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Reading everybody’s reaction on that first photo, I guess I should start to pour honey on more fruit in the future 😉 I myself thought the third one would get more of a reaction. It’s my favorite 🙂

  25. Beautifully simple dishes are often the best ones. Very nice indeed. Good luck with the project!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Phil!!

  26. Stéphane Cassin Photographie says:

    Des images bien composées ou la lumière met en valeur une cuisine fine et gastronomique 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Merci Stéphane!!

  27. sabine says:

    I guess it was your friend Ségolène´s arm again being held hostage to shoot the dropping honey dollop in the first and most amazing picture? I really love duck with something sweet by the side, lately I tried with cherries. Apricots & duck sounds wonderful to me!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It was me actually this time 😉 The camera was on a tripod 🙂

  28. Mon dieu! That looks fabulous. I have roasted duck only a couple of times, but it was extremely tasty and I should cook it more often. I concur with the others, your photos are stunning.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much! I appreciate it!!!

  29. The photo’s are stunning, the dish is perfect. I totally agree about duck breast, pink it has to be. I always save the fat that I render and freeze it. This dish is elegant and although simple I know the flavors are quite complex I would serve it at a dinner party when I want to impress. I love your China.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! Apricots are not my favorite fruit, but I must say that they fit really well here

      1. I generally only like apricots that are cooked somehow, poached is nice but I have never tried the way you prepared them. Apricots tend to be on the dryish side which is unappealing to me but when cooked either poached or otherwise they morph into a much more appealing fruit. They look wonderful with the duck.

        1. My French Heaven says:

          You are so right! I don’t like them raw because they are dry. I also HATE the feel of their skin. Cooked it the way to go. I will try them with pork next time. Or maybe I’ll use peaches instead…

  30. Cynthia says:

    I agree. I hope to try the recipe one day but that first picture … WOW! 😉

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much Cynthia!!

  31. Andrea says:

    I’m not a huge fan of apricots, but that third picture makes me want to eat one. It is beautiful!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I understand! I never eat their skin. It feels weird… 😉

  32. expatsnews says:

    Brilliant pictures. And the food sure should be delicious!

    1. My French Heaven says:


  33. chef mimi says:

    Beautiful! I love that first shot! At least when you’re tired, you don’t lose your sense of humor!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Sometimes I do unfortunately, but it is quite rare. People know I’m really tired when I don’t feel like eating 😉

      1. chef mimi says:

        I have never ever been that tired!!!

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Ha Ha HA

  34. PotSoup says:

    Brilliant photography! The first image is especially stunning.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I really appreciate your kind words. You are always so positive and supportive!! Thanks for your continued readership and support. It really means a lot to me!! 🙂

  35. judilyn says:

    Forgot to say that the first photograph is a work of art! I gasped audibly upon opening the page and seeing it!

    Virtual hugs,


    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! It didn’t have anything to do with the recipe, but I thought it would make a good photo 😉

  36. judilyn says:

    Duck is not common here in Arizona, so I have not had the pleasure. But this recipe certainly makes it look inviting! Is that one portion of the duck meat? It looks like a lot for one person. I’m dusting off my résumé right now to apply as sous chef for cookbook prep duties! ;->

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Alright then! I promise I will be a good boss 😉

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