Makes 2-3 servings:
1 duck breast
1 shallot minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bunch of arugula washed and stems removed
⅓ cup walnuts or pecans
½ cup ruby port
⅓ cup duck, veal or other light stock
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
⅓ tsp each of ground allspice, black pepper and salt
1 tsp butter
Slice through the skin and fat but not the meat of the duck breast in a cross hatch pattern. This will allow the skin to shrink without deforming the breast and let the fat render out. Mix the spices together and rub them into the skin side of the duck.
Place the duck skin side down in an oven safe pan over medium low heat and cook until almost all of the fat has rendered out (10-15 minutes or so). You’re only looking to crisp the skin and get rid of the fat, not to cook the whole duck breast.
While duck is cooking, add balsamic vinegar to a small frying pan or sauce pot and bring to a simmer. When the vinegar is reduced by 2/3rds and starts to thicken, add in the walnuts, stir to coat and remove from heat.
When most of the fat has rendered from the duck, drain off the fat (reserve for another use), flip the breast over and put in oven at 400F until the duck reads ~130 on a thermometer (10 minutes or so). It should be pink when cut and resemble medium rare steak. Remove the duck to a plate and let rest covered in foil or another plate.
To make the sauce, drain off all but 1 teaspoon of the remaining duck fat from pan, add in the shallots, garlic and diced figs and saute over high heat until the shallots are soft. Add in the port and stock and simmer until reduced by half. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve to remove shallots and figs and continue to simmer the liquid until reduced by half again. Stir in butter and remove from heat.
Put arugula on plates, sprinkle with the glazed walnuts. Top it off with 2 or 3 slices of duck and drizzle with sauce, garnish with quartered figs and serve.