By Scott Leysath

This classic Italian dish tastes great with duck and takes only 20 minutes to prepare.

Home game chefs often use extraordinary measures to ensure that their cooked duck breast fillets are tender, not tough and chewy. They will soak them in an acidic wine or vinegar-based marinade for a day or two, or perhaps pound the fillets with a mallet until they are thin enough to see through. Granted, the cooked meat may be more palatable than if little or nothing had been done to season it, but there is an easier cooking method that requires less effort, looks great on the plate, and tastes fantastic.

Scaloppine is an Italian term for a thin medallion of meat, usually veal or chicken, that has been seasoned, lightly dusted with flour, and sautéed. Prior to preparation, the meat is gently pounded so that it cooks quickly and evenly. Once browned, the accompanying sauce can be made in the same pan in which the meat was cooked. With one large pan, a handful of ingredients, and a starchy side dish such as pasta or rice, dinner is served.

Whether your scaloppine features veal or teal, the same cooking rules apply. Because the meat cooks quickly, have all your ingredients ready, and do not stray from the stove. Remove the meat when done, keep it warm, and add any remaining ingredients to the pan to complete the recipe. The number of duck breast fillets needed for the recipe will depend on whether your ducks are mallards, teal, or a combination of species. If you have any leftovers, duck scaloppine topped with melted cheese, lettuce, and tomato makes a great sandwich the next day.

Duck Breast Scaloppine

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 8-12 skinless duck breast fillets
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon each salt, coarsely ground black pepper, paprika, Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 16 asparagus tips, blanched and cooled
  • 1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 zest of lemon (outside yellow part only)
  • 2/3 cup tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese


1. Place duck breast fillets inside a freezer-safe zip-lock bag. Using the flat side of a mallet or a heavy skillet, lightly pound the meat until it is about 1/4-inch thick. In a bowl, combine flour with salt, black pepper, paprika, and Italian seasoning. Lightly dredge duck through flour mixture, shaking off excess.

2. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add duck a few pieces at a time, and lightly brown on both sides. Remove duck medallions when done and keep warm. Add garlic, onion, capers, chicken broth, and lemon juice to skillet. Then add asparagus and mushrooms, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add lemon zest and tomato. If desired, whisk in additional chilled butter for a creamier sauce.

3. Arrange duck on plates and spoon sauce over. Top with Parmesan cheese.