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Can Duck Breasts Be Parcooked and Finished Later?

I'm preparing a Passover dinner and will serve duck breasts. Can I sear the breasts before my guests arrive and finish them in the oven just before serving?

Can you cook like a restaurant chef, you mean? Of course you can!

In the restaurant world, the mise en place for the meat station involves searing or parcooking various cuts of meat so they can be finished off quickly and efficiently in the rush of service.

Duck breasts are generally grilled, sauted, or broiled, and are generally served rare and sliced into small medallions. That being the case, you will not want to cook them very long in either the first or second cooking. We trust that you have the experience to know when the breasts are done.

You also will not want a lot of time to elapse between the first cooking and second cooking. The US Department of Agriculture does not want any food to hover between 40F (5C) and 140F (60C) for more than 2 hours (actually it's only an hour if the temperature is above 90F (32C)), but parcooked meats often spend a lot longer than that in the huge temperature range in restaurants, from when they are taken out of the refrigerator, parcooked, finished off, and finally reach the customer, who might be sitting down to dinner at 9:30 or later.

As a totally unrelated aside, we recently saw New York restaurateur Joe Bastianich (on his mother's PBS cooking show) say that he removes a steak from his refrigerator the night before he intends to grill it, so that it has time to reach room temperature (that is what he does for steaks he is grilling at home there was no indication that he does this in a restaurant setting). We're pretty sure the largest porterhouse steak would reach room temperature within a couple of hours, so there is a HUGE disconnect between Joe Bastianich and the USDA. Bastianich appeared to be the picture of health, but we obviously are not going to get into any kind of discussion between the two of them!

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