Chef Daniel Boulud


Recipe serves 4

A Note from the Chef

This exotic dish from Chef Daniel Boulud uses sumac, a tangy spice that comes from a flowering bush. While it can be found around the world, and is used in Middle Eastern cuisine, it also grows right here in New York. If you’re not able to find any, don’t worry. Chef Daniel suggests paprika as an adequate substitute in this dish.


  • 4 duck breasts, with skin dried and scored 1/2” by 1/2"
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 1/4 tsp fennel pollen
  • 2 fennel bulbs or 8 baby fennels (with tops removed)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 12 figs, split in half with stem removed
  • 4 Tbsp fig balsamic, or regular balsamic vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp red wine
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pepper
  • Chili flakes


  1. Season duck breasts with sumac, fennel pollen, chili flakes and salt. Let them warm to room temperature for 20 minutes.
  2. Split fennel bulbs into 8-10 wedges, but do not peel layers apart. Gently roast wedges over medium heat in a pan with olive oil. Season with sumac, fennel pollen, salt and chili flakes.
  3. Meanwhile in a cast iron pan, place duck breasts skin side down over medium heat. Render the fat and crisp the skin.
  4. Once the fennel begins to caramelize, turn gently to cook on the other side.
  5. Remove cooked fennel from pan and take 1 tablespoon of duck fat from duck pan and place it into fennel pan. Then place figs flat side down to sear them.
  6. Once figs begin to brown, deglaze pan with balsamic vinegar and red wine. Allow it to simmer for 30 seconds and then turn off heat.
  7. Once skin of duck is crispy, flip duck breasts over and allow to sear for an additional two minutes on other side. Allow duck to rest at least 3 minutes before slicing into them.
  8. To plate, slice duck and arrange it nicely on the plate or platter. Place fennel and figs around and finish with sauce.