Caribbean Duck Breasts

Caribbean Duck Breasts

Over the many years I spent in the Caribbean and cooking aboard various yachts, I’ve of course made lots of recipes that are island themed.  It’s interesting that this is a “Caribbean” duck breast recipe because duck wasn’t always easy to find in the earlier years, but has become a lot easier to find with the specialty meat markets now available for charter provisioning throughout the Caribbean.
This recipe calls for boneless and skinless duck breasts.  This is a relatively fast recipe to make, and the steps happen quickly.  I recommend you have all your ingredients ready before you start cooking … and the list of ingredients is enticing enough all on their own –wait until you taste and enjoy them all together!

I was given this recipe by a well-known Captain (he was also the Chef) aboard the charter sailboat “Sea Dreams”.  Captain Shelley was quite a character, and his guests always loved his stories and his cuisine.   I remember a starry evening sitting on the back deck and being thrilled by how really delicious this dish was.  I begged Capt. Shelley to share his recipe, and it easily became one of my “go to” recipes.

This recipe (which you’ll find on the RECIPE page of my website) calls for a packet of hollandaise sauce as an ingredient.  You’ll need to understand that we didn’t always have a lot of time (having more than one job; for instance, I was both the Chef and the First Mate on more than one yacht)  or space for a lot of fresh eggs on these yachts, so shortcuts were a definite must.  Also, the fresher the egg yolks, the better!   If you are also short of time or space, by all means use the listed shortcut, but if not, I’ll also include a great recipe for homemade hollandaise.  I’ve always been partial to Alton Brown’s posted recipe using cold butter pieces vs. most recipes that use hot melted butter, but there are literally thousands of recipes out there for you to choose from.  I adore Alton’s version and I also find his addition of water and a little sugar really takes this creamy sauce to the next level.  I have, however, reduced his amount of cayenne pepper by half … I’m spicy enough!  Seriously though, please add or subtract according to the degree of heat you prefer.

Alton Brown’s Hollandaise Sauce Recipe

(Borrowed and modified from the library)


  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne, divided
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained and divided
  • 8 ounces cold unsalted butter cut into tablespoon-size pieces (16 pieces)
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar 

Whisk together the egg yolks, water, salt and half of the cayenne pepper in a 2-quart saucier or saucepan for 1 minute.

Put the pan over low to medium-low heat and whisk vigorously, moving the pan on and off the heat every 10 to 15 seconds, bring the mixture to 140 to 145º F on an instant-read thermometer,  approximately 3 minutes.  Add 1 piece of butter at a time every 30 seconds, while continually whisking and moving the pan on and off the heat.  Maintain temperature around 120 to 130º F throughout the remainder of the cooking process.  Once ½ of the butter (8 pieces) have been added, add 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice.  Add the remaining 8 pieces of butter one at a time every 30 seconds and maintaining the temperature.  After the last piece of butter has been added, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.  Add the remaining cayenne and the sugar and whisk for 1 to 2 minutes.

Taste and add more lemon juice as desired.  If you add more lemon, whisk for an additional minute or so.  Pour the sauce immediately into a short, wide-mouthed thermos to hold for up to 2 hours.

You can then use the prepared hollandaise sauce in the Caribbean Duck Breast recipe when instructed.  Please go to the RECIPES page for my recipe.


Another use (and perhaps the most famous) is on Eggs Benedict.  I made a simple one with my favorite, bacon.  I topped it with a sprinkle of Paprika for color and presentation.


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