In the first in a series of monthly Chef Columns in the Island Reporter, Chef Aziz, Executive Chef at Traditions On the Beach, will share some of his delicious and award winning recipes for you to try at home.

About Chef Aziz: Chef Aziz has worked with Traditions On The Beach host, Andrea, for many years, including his time at Dolce Vita and the Riviera restaurants on Sanibel.  He brings with him over 35 years of extensive training and experience from around the world that includes his authentic French, Italian and Mediterranean style cuisine.  His recipes and signature dishes can be enjoyed at Traditions on the Beach each evening and now you can try these recipes at home.  

Crispy Duck with Cherries & Port Wine Sauce

When selecting a whole duck, choose the one with tender and meaty breasts, should be no more than six months old and 4 to 6 pounds. Ducks typically contain a large amount of fat, which which can be carved away before roasting. Additional fat drips from the duck while roasting, and that helps to crispens the duck and make it leaner.    

Ingredients

1 Whole Duck (about a 5 pound duck) A Cup of Cherries ¼ Cup Sugar 3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar 1 Cup Port Wine 2 Tablespoons Com Starch 1 Cup Of Chicken Stock Salt And Pepper To Taste    

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit /230 Celsius. Clean and trim any excess fat on the duck and then prick the duck skin all over with a fork.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Seat the duck, breast side up on a roasting pan, and roast for about 40 minutes, then turn it over and continue to roast for a further 30 more minutes . Turn duck over again (breasts side up), drain off any liquid from the cavity into pan, and then continue to roast for about another 20 minutes or until the skin is brown and crisp.  Total roasting time should be around 1½ hours.
  3. Put the sugar and vinegar into a saucepan over medium heat and cook. When it starts to turn golden brown, remove immediately from heat and carefully stir in the juice from the cherries, stir again and then add the cherries.
  4. Return to the flame, add the chicken broth and whisk over low heat until the caramelized sugar is completely dissolved, and set aside.
  5. When the duck is ready, remove it from the oven, set it aside to let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Skim the excess fat from the roasting pan, add port wine and bring to boil over medium heat, scraping up any bits of dripping from the pan. Pour the pan juices in the saucepan with the sauce base and strain it. Bring it to simmer, stir in the com starch and the chicken stock in a bowl, then whisk it into the simmering sauce to thicken it.
  7. Carve the duck and place it on a serving plate, serve the sauce in a sauceboat and enjoy!