Chef Valette represents his Sonoma, Calif., home with this elegant duck dish, glazed in a maple syrup and champagne vinegar reduction so that it’s sweet and savory.
For the preserved lemon relish, add the preserved lemon, 1/2 the chopped shallots, and 1/2 of the chives into a small bowl with 2 ounces of the olive oil and mix together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Rub the duck all over with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the bunch of thyme inside the cavity and season with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan sear the duck until golden brown, about 5 minutes, then place on a roasting rack. With a pastry brush, "paint" the duck with the maple syrup. Cook the duck in the oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. While the duck is roasting, start prepping the remaining items. Once the duck is roasted, hold in a warm area.
For the squash gastrique place the squash in a medium size pot with the sugar and vinegar, cover with water and add seasonings. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the squash is tender. Remove from the water and purée using some of the pickling liquid, the purée should be thick, not too thin. Reserve warm.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat add the butter, remaining shallots, and chestnuts. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until golden brown; add the currents and cook for another 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning and add the remaining chives. Reserve warm.
Now that all the components are done and the duck is roasted begin by carving the duck. Remove the thigh and breast; slice each into 4-5 pieces. On a large pre-heated plate make a "swoosh" of the squash gastrique then place a scoop of the chestnut compote in the center. Arrange the duck breast and thighs around the compote, repeat for the remaining dishes. Last step is to drizzle the preserved lemon vinaigrette around the plate and on the duck and serve.