My visit to a bee sanctuary in Sonoma, Calif., inspired me to start cooking more with honey. It is a versatile ingredient that adds a nice, floral sweetness.
Honey is a fantastic product that not only provides incredible flavor and sweetness, but also is healthy. The honey-glazed duck breast recipe pairs very well with both the Trimbach gewurztraminer, which is always very food friendly, and the carmenere from Errazuriz made in Chile.
For the cumin-scented carrots:
Place the carrots in a large skillet with the butter, honey, and about 1/3 cup of water. Heat over medium-high heat and season the carrots with cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are lightly caramelized and tender, about 20 minutes. Finish the carrots with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
For the spiced duck breast:
Stir together the coriander, cumin, star anise, white pepper, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl to blend. Season the duck breasts on both sides with salt, then coat the skin side of the duck breasts with the spice mixture, forming a crust.
Divide the canola oil between 2 sauté pans and heat over medium heat. When the pans are hot, gently place 2 duck breasts, skin sides down, in each pan. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook until the skin is golden brown and crispy, 12-15 minutes. Turn the duck breasts over and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board to rest. Return the pans to the stove.
Divide the shallots between the pans and cook over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the orange juice, lemon juice, and honey, dividing equally. Simmer to reduce by half, about 8 minutes. Finish the pan sauce by whisking in the butter and seasoning to taste with salt. Combine the sauce into one pan.
Thinly slice the duck breasts crosswise and place the duck slices on 4 plates. Spoon some of the sauce over the duck and serve with the roasted carrots.