Recipe by Chef Eric DeBonis
Make the cherry compote: In a non-reactive sauce pan (Stainless steel), combine the pitted cherries, the red wine and the sugar. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down so that the mixture comes to a slow, rolling boil. Reduce until half the liquid has evaporated and it has a syrupy consistency. Take the pan off the heat, set aside for later
Make the gastrique: In a non-reactive sauce pan (Stainless steel) put 1/2 cup of sugar. Put the sauce pan over medium high heat and watch as the sugar starts to caramelize on the sides. As soon as this occurs, stir the sugar with a wooden spoon as to ensure the melted sugar stays smooth and not lumpy. When a nice dark golden color is obtained, slowly pour the rice vinegar over the caramel while stirring constantly. Be extremely careful as the caramel will boil very strongly and cause burns. as soon as the mixture is homogeneous again, boil slowly for a minute or two. Add the duck stock, then the cherry compote to the mixture and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and let the sauce reduce by 1/3 to 1/2. When the sauce reaches a syrupy consistency, taste it and add sea salt to taste.
Pan-sear the duck breast: sprinkle sea salt and fresh ground pepper over both sides of the duck breast. Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat and place the duck breasts with its skin side down.
When a nice dark, golden brown color is obtained, turn the breasts over on the meat side for 2-3 minutes. Turn again on the skin side and place the pan in a 400°f oven until desired doneness is achieved, 2-3 minutes for medium rare, 5 minutes for medium. Remove from pan and let the meat rest for 10 minutes.
Plate the duck breasts: quickly reheat the sauce until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Slice the duck breast in a bias (at an oblique angle) and fan it over a warm plate, skin side up. Spoon sauce over the duck breast ensuring that each breast gets a few cherries.
Serve with potato gratin or mashed potatoes.