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Pan-Seared Duck Breast and Orange Butter Sauce

Dani Venn creates this winning salad recipe of sliced duck breast served on a bed of warm lentils, fennel and fresh herbs, then drizzled with delicious orange butter sauce.

Prep Time

    •    Prep time: 30 minutes
    •    Cook time: 30 minutes
    •    Yield: Serves 4


    •    4 duck breasts
    •    Sea salt flakes
    •    Fennel fronds, to garnish
    •    Extra parsley, to garnish
    •    1 large bulb of fennel, cut into wedges

Orange Beurre Blanc (Butter Sauce):

    •    Zest of 1 orange
    •    Juice of 3 oranges, strained
    •    1 tbsp white wine vinegar
    •    100g cold butter, cut into cubes

Lentil Salad:

    •    1 cup green lentils, cooked according to packet instructions, drained
    •    2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
    •    4 stalks celery, finely diced
    •    1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
    •    4 sprigs thyme, finely chopped


  1. To make lentil salad, cook lentils according to packet instructions, drain and set aside. Steam carrots and celery in a double boiler for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through, add to lentils. Stir through chopped parsley and thyme, season with salt. Set aside.

  2. To cook fennel, rub fennel wedges with olive oil, place on high heat on griddle pan, BBQ or frypan, cook on each side for about 5 minutes until slightly charred and caramelised. Set aside.

  3. To make orange butter sauce, add orange juice, zest and vinegar to a small saucepan, reduce liquid until about 2 tablespoons of liquid remain, mixture should look slightly syrupy. Remove zest. Ensure that butter is very cold, add half the amount of butter and whisk in well to combine. The sauce should emulsify and become thick, remove from heat, whisk in remaining cubes of butter. Set aside.

  4. To cook duck breast, score the fat in a criss-cross pattern, season with a generous amount of sea salt flakes. Place heavy based frypan over low- medium heat, add duck breasts and allow to cook slowly and for the fat to render (melt off) for about 5 – 7 minutes until skin looks golden and crispy. Pour off excess fat and turn over duck breast, cook for a further 5 – 10 minutes depending how you like your duck cook. Remove from pan, allow duck to rest for 5 minutes before carving. Carve into thin slices.

  5. To serve, gently heat up orange butter sauce if needed, drizzle a few tablespoons over the lentil salad and fennel. Place a portion of lentil salad and fennel on serving plates, top with duck breast and drizzle over orange butter sauce. Top with fresh fennel frongs (optional) and parsley.

This great family recipe is thanks to Taste Recipes at


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