4 duck breasts (8 ounces each)
1/3 cup salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup apple glaze (from Poached Apples & Glaze recipe)
½ cup crushed gingersnap crumbs (from pre-purchased gingersnap cookies)
2 medium watermelon radishes, sliced thinly on a mandolin (about the thickness of a quarter)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
For Duck Breasts:
Mix salt and sugar on a small baking sheet. Pat duck dry with paper towels and place the fat side (not the flesh side) down on cure and place in refrigerator for 4 hours.
Remove duck from cure and season the flesh side with salt and pepper. Place the breasts on a baking sheet tray with a rack and brush excess salt and sugar off with a damp paper towel or pastry brush. Only pepper the cured side since some salt might remain from the cure.
Heat medium sauté pan over low heat. Add just enough grapeseed oil to form a thin coat. Place duck breasts skin side down in sauté pan and press down on duck with fingers to push the skin into the pan. Sear slowly for approximately 7 minutes, or until the fat renders and the skin crisps up and turns golden brown.
Remove duck from pan with tongs and place back on rack. Duck will still be rare. Pour rendered duck fat into bowl and place the pan back over heat.
Return duck to pan on the flesh side (meat side), for 2 minutes on low heat, or just until the flesh starts to brown slightly. Increase to medium-high heat and add butter and thyme to the pan.
Once the butter is foamy, use a large spoon to baste the duck breasts with the foamy butter, focusing on the thicker parts of the breast.
Reduce heat to low and add apple glaze. Turn duck back over to skin side down. Continue to baste the duck as the liquid bubbles and darkens in color (done at 140°F).
Turn off heat and transfer the breasts to a rack using tongs.
When ready to serve, dip duck breasts in gingersnap crumbs to finish off the crust.
For Watermelon Radishes:
Immediately after removing the duck from the pan, add sherry vinegar and radish slices and slightly increase the heat from low to medium heat. Cook until glazed and slightly softened, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.