Pan-fried duck breast with smoked aubergine purée and sautéed spinach

Pan-fried duck breast with smoked aubergine purée and sautéed spinach

[col type=”three-fourth”]


  • 2 large aubergines, skin pierced several times with a skewer, cut in half lengthways
  • 4 duck breasts, skin on
  • 3-4 tbsp wood chips, for smoking the aubergines
  • 75g/3oz butter
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 500g/1lb 2oz baby spinach leaves
  • 2-3 tbsp water

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.

  2. Place the aubergine halves into a roasting tin. Roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes, or until tender, then set aside.

  3. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat until hot. Add the duck breasts, skin-side down, and fry for 6-8 minutes until the skin is crisp and most of the fat has melted (rendered).

  4. Turn the duck breasts over and continue to fry on the other side for 2-3 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the pan and set aside on a warm plate to rest.

  5. Line a lidded wok with a double layer of aluminium foil. Sprinkle the wood chips into the bottom of the wok, then cover the wok with a lid and heat over a low heat, until the wood chips start to smoke. (CAUTION: Food-smoking generates a great deal of smoke. Cook in a well-ventilated place and open the windows. Open the wok outdoors.)

  6. Add the aubergine halves to the wok, then quickly replace the lid and smoke for 3-4 minutes.

  7. Remove the smoked aubergine halves from the wok outdoors.

  8. Transfer the smoked aubergines to a food processor, then add 50g/2oz of the butter and all of the lemon juice and blend to a purée. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  9. Heat the remaining butter in a separate frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter is foaming, add the spinach leaves and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring regularly.

  10. Add the water and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted.

  11. To serve, carve the duck breasts into thin slices. Place one sliced duck breast onto each of four serving plates. Spoon a little of the smoked aubergine purée and the sautéed spinach alongside.

[/col][col type=”one-fourth last”]

James Martin recipes from Saturday Kitchen Best Bites

Less than 30 mins preparation time

30 mins to 1 hour cooking time

Serves 4