Roast Duck Breasts with Grapefruit Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

This has been a signature dish of mine over the years. To make the sauce and the duck, you’ll need a total of 4 grapefruits. Don’t hesitate to substitute chicken breasts or pork loin or tenderloin if you’re not a duck fan. You can also prepare the meat on the grill rather than roasting. My favorite grapefruits are the Texas pinks or reds that come to the market in late fall.


  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice or juniper berry
  • 4 duck breast halves (6 to 7 ounces each)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 grapefruits, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 cups young watercress leaves with tender stems (woody stems discarded)
  • Grapefruit Sauce


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Whisk the honey, grapefruit juice, and allspice together in a small bowl. Trim the duck breasts of excess fat and score the skin in a cross-hatch pattern, cutting almost but not quite through to the meat. Brush the breasts with the honey mixture, season with salt and pepper, and set aside for at least 15 minutes.

Heat an ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat. Place the duck breasts in the dry pan skin side down and sear until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn them over and place the pan in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes more, or until the meat is medium rare. Be careful not to overcook. Remove the pan from the oven and then remove the breasts to a cutting board and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

To serve, arrange the grapefruit sections and watercress on plates. Thinly slice the duck breasts and arrange on top, spoon warm Grapefruit Sauce over the duck, and serve.