Duck and apricot risotto with mint sounds like one of those, "wait, you put what with what?" kind of meals but in this case, it's just so crazy it works!
For the third and final round of the Marx Foods Integrale Risotto Gauntlet* I wanted to pull out all the stops and create a feast of a dish that encompassed the richness of the Integrale along with the fresh flavors of summer. Although duck is often considered a winter food it pairs beautifully with the apricot and mint for a seasonally appropriate offering. The richness is cut with a sweet and tart balsamic glaze and the seasoning is highlighted by a garnish of ricotta salata - a dry, salty form of ricotta cheese.
Duck & Apricot Risotto with Mint ~ serves 2
1 cup Integrale risotto rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup white onion, diced
15 oz chicken stock
1 large duck breast
2 apricots, halved and pit removed
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chiffonade + more for garnish
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
ricotta salata, for garnish
In a sauce pan set over medium-low heat reduce balsamic vinegar until it reaches a syrupy consistency.
Heat a heavy bottom sauce pot on medium heat. Add olive oil and tilt to coat bottom of pan. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add rice; stir to coat. Add chicken stock; reduce heat to low. Cover and let cook.
Meanwhile, trim excess skin from duck breast until skin just covers the top of the breast. Score skin and season duck with salt and pepper. Grill, skin side down, over medium-low heat to render the fat and crisp the skin. Turn and cook until duck reaches desired doneness (I prefer my duck cooked to 165º internal temp - no matter what the fine dining rules say). Remove from heat and let rest.
Grill apricots cut side down until just softened. Set aside.
Risotto should be just about cooked through at this point. Season to taste. I recommend adding extra pepper to balance the sweetness of the fruit and balsamic glaze. Stir in mint and spread risotto on a serving dish. Slice duck and fan over the top along with apricots. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and garnish with mint and ricotta salata.
*I received a sample box of Integrale rice from Marx Foods. Recipe, photos, and all related text are my own.