Pair This: Pinot Noir and Seared Long Island Duck with Roasted Eggplant

executive chef jon lopresti

Servings: 6 appetizer portions

Love to experiment with food and wine pairing ideas? Here’s a fantastic Pinot Noir pairing recipe, courtesy of our partner Chef Jon LoPresti, Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Department Head at Laurel Links Country Club. Learn more about Chef Jon on Cellar Angels’ Blog site, The Daily Flight.


  • 3 boneless duck breasts, about 8oz. each
  • 2 medium / large eggplants – rinsed, ends trimmed, alternate 3- 4 narrow peels lengthwise to show a flesh and black stripe affect, cut crosswise into 1-1/2″ thick rounds. If extra, pick the six that are close in size
  • 2 whites of leek, rinsed well – medium dice
  • 1 small red onion – medium to fine dice
  • 2 large portabella mushrooms –medium to fine dice
  • 1 cup oven roasted plum tomato –  sun dried or cut ripe small cherry tomatoes work as well – medium chop
  • 1/4 lb English Stilton blue cheese – small crumble – for garnish
  • 2 cups Pinot Noir
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup lite soy sauce
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Canola – for searing duck breasts
  • Salt & fresh ground black pepper

Procedure for the Roasted Eggplant: (Can be prepared ahead and refrigerated.)
Rub eggplant rounds with olive oil on both sides, salt both sides and set aside in colander over a mixing bowl to de-gorge at room temp on counter. When you see a little liquid in the bowl they are ready to go, about 45 minutes to1 hour should be enough. This softens the slight bitterness eggplants can have; it also seasons them through a little.

Pre-heat oven to 425°F if standard oven or 375° if convection oven. Drizzle more olive oil on both sides, salt should be good. Roast eggplants 30-40 minutes, turning them over half way thru cooking time, until top is slightly golden brown, when the aroma of eggplant hits the kitchen air, you’re there! Set roasted eggplant rounds aside on oven ready side plate or refrigerate for a later use.

Procedure for the Sautéed Vegetable: (Can be prepared ahead and refrigerated.)
In a medium hot sauté pan add olive oil, leeks, red onion, mushroom, season with S&P and sauté until the vegetables just begin to soften, about 6-7 minutes. You want to keep some texture in the vegetables, add tomato and 1 cup of the Pinot Noir, let simmer another 2-3 minutes. Add a little water if needed so mixture is moist. Adjust seasonings to your taste and set aside the vegetable sauté in a shallow pan to room cool or refrigerate for a later use.

Procedure for the Duck and Pan Glaze:
Pat dry duck breasts and season on both sides. Pre-heat sauté pan to a medium high heat, a nonstick pan works fine. Add a little canola oil to pan and carefully lay in the breasts, fat side down, you should hear a strong searing sound, press on the middle to the outsides of each breast to assure the skin browns evenly. Lift breast with spatula to be sure you’re not burning the skin and letting the oil get underneath at the start, turn down the heat a touch once the skin starts browning and the fat is rendering off. You will need to pour off the fat periodically and carefully into a metal bowl close to your burner. When the skin is deeply brown and looking good turn over onto the flesh side and cook for 3 minutes more. Remove from pan and set aside, skin side up, to rest on an oven ready plate.

Pour off any additional fat from the pan, add remaining wine, sugar, soy and whisk. Reduce until the glaze coats the back of a spoon, it should have a nice semi-sweet savory balance. Serve warm or at room temperature, glaze refrigerates for up to a month.

To Serve:
For room temperature eggplant & vegetable mix: top eggplant rounds with vegetable mix and re-heat in 375°F oven for 10-15 minutes; double the time if product is from refrigerator. Re- heat duck breasts, skin side up, for 5-6 minutes for a medium rare temperature. Rest breasts skin up for 1-2 minutes, with skin side down on cutting board, slice ¼˝ medallions across the width. Garnish top of eggplant with Stilton, return to hot oven for 1minute. Plate eggplant, spoon drizzle glaze on plate and arrange 4-5 duck medallions to your liking. Enjoy!

Serve with a perfectly paired glass of Pinot Noir. 

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