Pan-Seared Duck with Quick Corn Relish

In many parts of the country, like my own backyard in Northern California, some duck hunters have a problem with shooting gadwall.  “Oh, man…all we saw were gaddies today.  Hopefully, we’ll get some good ducks next time.”  One of the guys I hunt with maintained for years that our Northern California gadwalls head over to Nevada and pig out on snails, giving their meat a distinctive snail-like flavor.  Hey, who hasn’t heard about what a Nevada snail will do to a perfectly good duck?  I believe what he said was, “I wouldn’t feed a gadwall to my dog.”  So, I finally told him to put up or shut up.  I brought along a portable burner, a pan, some oil, salt, pepper and a little sauce.  I cooked a gadwall breast and a mallard breast – seasoned, rubbed, seared and sauced.  Guess what?  John picked out the gadwall as the mallard.  Now, it could have gone either way because the finished product is really close.  I just got lucky.  It did take him a few tastes to choose the winner.  The point is…finally…that those gadwalls you’ve been less than thrilled with might just surprise you.  Give ‘em another try.

Pan-Seared Duck with Quick Corn Relish


  • 4 large duck breasts
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ cup chicken broth

Quick Corn Relish

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen uncooked corn kernels
  • ¼ cup onion finely diced
  • 1/3 cup bell pepper any color, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • pinch black pepper


  • Rub duck breasts with olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown breasts on one side, flip over and cook for 2 minutes more. Add chicken broth to pan and cook until breasts are medium-rare, about 130 degrees at the center. Allow to rest for a few minutes, slice diagonally and top with warm corn relish.

Quick Corn Relish Instructions

  • Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn and next 4 ingredients. Cook for 4 – 5 minutes, then sprinkle sugar over and stir. Cook for 2 minutes more. Add vinegar, salt and pepper and cook for 2 – 3 minutes.

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