Can you remember the moment when you first realized how amazing food can really be? I remember it very clearly and it was more recent than you may think.

Six years ago I went to Las Vegas with several friends for a pretty epic girl’s vacation. It was a very different time and I doubt I’ll ever have another experience quite like this one. None of us were married yet (I had only just begun dating Jeff). One member of the group, Christa, was a successful fish monger and she was able to get many of our meals and even our hotel rooms at The Bellagio comped. We were determined to party like rockstars- table service at the hottest clubs, dinner at the best restaurants in town, the works. 

On the final night of our trip we dined at Thomas Keller’s restaurant, Bouchon. I didn’t know who Thomas Keller was at the time and I knew very little about the restaurant. I was still trying to decide what to order when Christa announced that she was ordering Terrine de Foie Gras de Canard. I didn’t  know what foie gras was at the time and someone needed to explain it to me. I might not have been a well versed diner but I was always an adventurous one so when I was offered a taste I gladly accepted. That bite was a revelation to me. I expected to taste something similar to the average chicken liver pate I’d tried at many family gatherings. Hardly. The foie gras was like butter, only richer and more flavorful. My eyes were opened to new possibilities. A few years later when Jeff and I had an overnight layover in Vegas I insisted we dine at Bouchon. I ordered the foie again and it was everything I remembered. It’s not something I eat on a regular basis but for special occasions, there’s really nothing like foie gras. Every time I taste it I’m reminded of that first moment where I truly fell in love with food.

Duck Breast with Seared Foie Gras and Balsamic Cherries
Serves: 2 servings
  • ½ cup cherries, pitted
  • ¼ cup Balsamico Vinegar of Modena
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 11/2 tablespoons shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 magret duck breast
  • 2 slices foie gras
  • salt and pepper
  • arugula for serving
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the cherries, balsamico and sugar. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat up the olive oil in a non­-stick pan on medium/­low heat with a pinch of salt and add the minced shallot. Cook for a few minutes until the shallots turn transparent and then add the cherries, including all balsamico and cherry juice in the bowl. Simmer on medium-­low heat, stirring periodically, until the liquids have reduced to a thick syrup and the cherries are very soft, approximately 15 minutes.
  3. Score the fat on top of the duck breast diagonally in two directions. Cut all the way through the fat without cutting into the meat. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a sauté pan over medium-­low heat and then place the duck in the pan, fat­-side down. Allow the fat to render until it's dark brown and crisp, approximately 10 minutes. Drain some of the duck fat from the pan periodically to avoid splatter.
  5. Flip the breast and allow it to cook on the opposite side for a few minutes, until an instant read thermometer reaches 125 degrees F in the center of the breast. Allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes.
  6. While the duck is resting, prepare the foie gras. Heat up a nonstick skillet on high until it's very hot. Lightly score one side of the foie gras and season with salt and pepper. Place the foie gras into the hot skillet, which should immediately start sizzling (if it doesn't remove the foie and allow the pan to continue to get hot). Sear for approximately 45 seconds per side.
  7. Lay a bed of arugula on two plates.
  8. Slice duck on the bias into thin strips and fan it over the arugula. Add one slice of foie gras to each plate, scored side up, and serve immediately.


And in the comments section, tell me: what’s your most memorable food moment?

More Duck Recipes

Savory Simple – Duck with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce and Lentils
Simply Recipes – Pasta with Slow Roasted Duck
Leite’s Culinaria – Duck Prosciutto

  • http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/ Tieghan

    So stunning. What a beautiful recipe!

  • Gerry @ foodness gracious

    Man, foie is totally like butter and richer than Bill gates. I tried a foie creme brulee as an app one time and almost licked the plate clean…sadly we can’t get it in CA anymore :(

  • http://veryculinary.com/ Amy @Very Culinary

    My first time was also in Vegas. 2004. Pre-kids. Paul and I ate at Mesa Grill, Bobby Flay’s restaurant…every single bite of everything was like having a little circus in your mouth. I’ll never forget it. Ever.

  • http://wickedgoodkitchen.com Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen

    Great story and beautiful photo, Jennifer! I have a similar true story about dining at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, not married but engaged to hubby (who came along with to a conference in ophthalmology), before Emeril Lagasse became nationally known. You never forget your first taste of truly fine food! Once again…gorgeous photo, girl!

  • http://www.grubarazzi.com Grubarazzi


  • http://ny-foodgasm.blogspot.com Sophia @ NYFoodgasm

    Beautifully done with great attention to detail!

  • http://www.bloggingoverthyme.com Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)

    I had an amazing foie gras spoonbread at Vidalia recently that was out of this world. Everything about this looks wonderful, Jen!

    Duck is one of my absolute favorite meats, period.

  • http://www.kitchenbelleicious.com Kitchen Belleicious

    Adding the cherries and their sweet tartness was a perfect idea. I love all the favors and textures going on here in this dish

  • http://www.vikalinka.com Julia@Vikalinka

    Gorgeous! My husband and I had foie gras and duck confit for our 10th anniversary dinner in Paris, just some small no name restaurant with exquisite food! I’ve fallen in love with both ever since. It’s a shame it’s not really appreciated in North America as much as in Europe. What a beautiful and tasty bird!

  • http://mixedsoup.net Christina

    I make this more often than I should….I guess. But I love your balsamic cherry addition-thank you!

  • http://www.girlinthelittleredkitchen.com Susan

    I always thought if someone asked what my last meal would be I’d say a porterhouse from Peter Luger. Seeing this has changed my mind, I love steak but I love duck and foie more. Just beautiful.

  • http://justonecookbook.com/blog/ Nami | Just One Cookbook

    I love Bouchon! Food is simply amazing and I can go there every day if I’m allowed. My gosh your duck , seared foie gras, and blasamic cherries… perfect, perfect meal. Going to check your recipe now. My family loves duck, I should make this at home, hope it’s easy enough. :)

  • http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    So elegant! I think I’d devour my plate if this was resting on top of it. What a wonderful meal!

  • http://whatjewwannaeat.com Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat

    This is simply whoa! My first foodie moment was when I lived in Barcelona in college. Before that, I had a student diet of beer and frozen meals, but I remember trying European cheeses on freshly made baguettes for the first time. I through out my old diet rules and embraced carbs and cheese and some of the best chocolate I’d ever had. My life was never the same!

  • http://www.bake-online.co.uk Jenny @ BAKE

    this looks absolutely gorgeous! I love the presentation of the dish!

  • http://www.crunchycreamysweet.com Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet

    Stunning! This would be one of those meals you remember forever. Love your story!

  • http://www.confessionsofachocoholic.com Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic

    I love foie gras. I started very young with my love for food. I remember dinners with my parents and sisters and being introduced to caviar and smoked salmon, and thinking, “I don’t even like seafood that much, but I love this.” :)

  • ashley – baker by nature

    Oh my gosh, Jen! This plate is stuuuuuunning! I love duck breast, and those cherries… well, I’m in love! xo

  • Mer

    That does sound like a wonderful memory! It’s amazing, that moment when you start to realize the potential of food.

  • http://damndelicious.net Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

    So can I come over for dinner?

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/116899699259024089659/posts Jennifer Farley

      like right now?

  • http://www.piesandplots.net Laura Dembowski

    I had the opportunity to try foie a few years ago and didn’t. I’m still kicking myself. I am going to try making duck soon and love the thought of pairing it with balsamic and cherries.

  • http://www.kitchenriffs.com john@kitchenriffs

    Foie gras is pure pleasure. I’ve never had the nerve to order one and cook it – it’s always been a restaurant thing for me. I really should try it sometime. Good recipe, lovely picture. Thanks.

  • http://www.londonbakes.com Kathryn

    What a stunning plate of food.

  • http://domesticfits.com Jackie {Domestic Fits}

    Beautiful job! This is a the meal that dreams of.

  • Erin K.

    I look at this and I think to myself, “I would never be able to make anything like this.” It is beautiful. Even though I would eat it in a heart beat, you almost don’t want to….almost!