Roasted Duck and Broccolini with Huckleberry Relish

(Serves 4 – Recipe courtesy of Chef Jason Freeburg, Table FIVE 08)

Driving back to California after the annual Oregon Berry Festival, I pulled into Salem for an early dinner. I looked up a few online reviews and found Table FIVE 08 highly recommended—a modern, hip eatery on bustling State Street in the downtown. I wasn’t hankering for anything in particular, and I certainly didn’t expect to find an incredible savory berry dish.

But there it was: Roasted duck and broccolini with spicy huckleberry relish. No need for me to give the menu another thought, I knew exactly what I was ordering.

I thoroughly enjoyed every berry treat I tasted at the Oregon Berry Festival the night before—savory as well as sweet. But this surprise in Salem was my hands down favorite. As I admitted in the recipe for Marionberry, Salmon, and Prawn Lettuce Cups, I was surprised fish and blackberries pair so well; but roasted duck with huckleberries blew my mind. When I returned home, I immediately contacted Chef Jason Freeburg and asked for the recipe, and he graciously obliged.

This recipe will work equally well with wild blueberries, but try to use black huckleberries if possible. They are easy to source if you’re anywhere in the Pacific Northwest during the summer (including Idaho and Montana), or else through mail order.


Duck and Broccolini

4 duck breasts with skin
2 pounds broccolini
Drizzle olive oil
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Huckleberry Relish

2 pints black huckleberries
1 small bunch green onion, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon chili flakes
Sea salt and pepper, to taste


Duck and Broccolini

Begin by prepping the duck a day in advance, if possible. Pat each breast with a paper towel until dry, then score the skin with a very sharp knife in a crosshatch pattern. (Be careful not to slice into the breast meat.) Place the breasts on a paper towel-lined plate and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight. This will dry out the skin and ensure crispness.

Trim away one inch from the end of each broccolini stem, and then drop them all into a pot of boiling water for 90 seconds. Remove broccolini and immediately plunge into an ice bath to halt cooking. Drain, and then set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees and heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Place the duck breasts skin-side down onto the hot skillet and sear until the skins are brown and crisp; about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the breasts from the skillet and place on a baking sheet, skin-side up.

Place the blanched broccolini on another baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the duck and broccolini into the preheated oven to roast. After 5 minutes, remove the duck breasts and let rest for 2-3 minutes. The broccolini can continue to roast until the duck has been plated.

Huckleberry Relish

Huckleberries can be tender, and the vinegar used in the relish can break the skin and turn the pulp into mush. So, it’s best to prepare this dressing right before serving, while the duck is resting and the broccolini finishes roasting.

Place the huckleberries in a colander and rinse under cold water. Shake dry, then pour them into a large bowl. Add the minced green onion, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chili flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Gently toss the ingredients with your hands, then spoon the relish onto the side of a plate.

Slice each duck breast into 5 or 6 slices, and place down the center of the plate alongside the relish. Finish the plating with the broccolini and serve immediately.