Simon Rimmer’s easy twist on French duck à l’orange makes a sophisticated starter.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Season the duck breasts and place them, skin-side down, into an ovenproof frying pan.
Cook the duck breasts for 8-10 minutes, draining off any fat and reserving it.
Turn the breasts over and fry for a further 2-3 minutes, then transfer the pan to the oven for 4-6 minutes (for medium) or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the sauce, heat the sugar and vinegar in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Grate in the orange zest, then peel the oranges and slice into rounds. Add the orange slices and orange liqueur to the mixture and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Stir in a little duck fat, to taste.
Preheat the grill to its highest setting.
Toast the brioche slices, then lay the figs on top and add a knob of butter. Sprinkle with the sugar and place under the grill until the sugar has caramelised.
To serve, place the brioche toasts onto serving plates. Carve the duck into thick slices and place on top of the toast, then spoon over the sauce.
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