Duck Breast with Indian Eggplant Pickle

Prepared by Chef Hugh Acheson of The Broad Fork – Atlanta, GA

Serves 4

Perfect duck breast matched with complex Indian spices and smoky eggplant . . . this entrée just feels right on a cool fall evening. The pickle is richly flavored and versatile and can be a staple condiment in your larder. I love this dish with cooked farro alongside.


  • 2 large Moulard duck breasts (about 1½ pounds total)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Indian Eggplant Pickle (recipe follows)
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Score fat side of each duck breast with a sharp paring knife, cutting about ¼ inch deep. Cut into the fat only, not the actual meat. Season breasts all over with kosher salt, and set aside.
  3. Set sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add canola oil, and place breasts in pan, skin side down. Cook about 15 minutes to render off fat and crisp skin.
  4. When the skin is crispy, raise heat to medium-high, turn breasts over and cook on meat side for 2 minutes. Add butter to pan and baste breasts with melted butter.
  5. Place pan in oven and roast for 2 minutes, or until breasts are on rare side of medium-rare. Transfer breasts to a cutting board and let them rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Slice duck against the grain, and fan slices out on a platter. Top with copious amounts of Eggplant Pickle. Drizzle with olive oil.

Indian Eggplant Pickle

This eggplant pickle can be fully processed in jars to shelve for 6 months, or just kept in a sealed container in the fridge, where it will keep for 10 days.

Ingredients, Makes 1 quart

  • 1 pound Japanese eggplants
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp toasted and ground cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp minced pickled hot chiles
  • ½ cup diced yellow bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp sorghum molasses
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro stems and leaves
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut eggplants into ½-inch-thick rounds and place them in a medium bowl. Add olive oil and sea salt, and toss to coat. Arrange slices on prepared baking sheet, and roast eggplant in oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  3. For a highly spiced pickle base, heat vegetable oil in a large, shallow pot over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the ginger and cook for 1 minute. Then add turmeric, mustard powder and ground cumin. Cook, stirring often, until very fragrant. Add garlic, pickled chiles and bell pepper, and cook for another 2 minutes. Then add sorghum, tamarind paste, cilantro and vinegar. Dilute with ½ cup water, and season with kosher salt.
  4. Add eggplant and cook for 10 minutes, stirring well.
  5. Remove from heat and finish with basil leaves. Store Eggplant Pickle in the refrigerator for up to 10 days, or pack into sterilized jars and process according to the jar manufacturer’s instructions to store it for up to 6 months.