Don’t fear the fat; most of it will render, leaving a deliciously crisp browned layer on top. Pekin ducks, also known as crescent or Long Island ducklings, have small breasts. If using magret, which are larger, cook a minute or two longer per side. Treat it lovingly with an overnight dry brine to season it throughout, then cook it patiently and gently and you’ll be rewarded with a meaty centerpiece that feels company-worthy without breaking the bank.
Remove excess fat from the edges of the duck breasts and season with salt and pepper. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and, when hot, put the breasts skin-side down. Sear until the skin has a golden color, a few mins. Put the breasts in a baking dish skin-side up. Place into the oven and roast for about 8 min. Remove and let rest.
Meanwhile, melt half of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the shallots and white wine and cook until soft. Add the chestnuts, heavy cream, ¼ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer, about 15 mins. Set aside.
Bring a medium saucepan of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Have a bowl of ice water ready. Once the water is boiling, add the haricot verts and cook until they turn bright green and are crisp-tender, 4-5 mins. Remove the beans to the ice water with a spider or slotted spoon. Then place on a plate with paper towels to dry.
Melt the remaining butter in a skillet over medium heat until it’s a golden-brown color. Add the haricot verts and stir to coat in the butter, 4-5 min.
Meanwhile, return the duck to the oven for another 5 min. to warm. Then remove and place on a cutting board. Cut the meat into about ½-in-thick slices and then reserve on a plate lined with paper towels.
To serve, place the creamy chestnuts in the center of a serving plate, followed by the sliced duck, and then the haricot vert on top of the duck.