Smoky Honey Aubergines, Quick Pickled Apple & Pan-fried Skeaghnore Duck Breast by Trish Deseine

Smoky Honey Aubergines, Quick Pickled Apple & Pan-fried Skeaghnore Duck Breast by Trish Deseine

"A special dinner dish for two. Make extra pickle and aubergine to keep in the fridge for lunches and sandwiches during the week."

Serves 4-6 | 15 mins prep 


For the pickle:
  • 125ml cider vinegar

  • 250ml water

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

  • 1 onion (red or white) finely sliced

  • 1 large apple, skin on, finely sliced

  • 1 nice sized aubergine, about 300/350g

  • 1 tbsp runny honey or maple syrup

  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

  • 2 tbsp hot water

  • Salt and pepper, lemon juice to taste

  • 1 duck breast, lightly seasoned, at room temperature


1. Stir the salt and sugar into the vinegar and water and heat gently until it dissolves.

2. Put the onion and apple into a bowl and pour the liquid over it. Leave at room temperature for an hour or so before using.

3. While the apples are pickling, stir together the honey, sesame oil and water until everything is well mixed in a small gratin dish.

4. Slice the aubergine in half lengthwise, then score the flesh with a knife, cutting deep into the flesh without piercing the skin. Make diagonal cuts about an inch apart, and then repeat in the other direction so you have a diamond pattern.

5. Place the aubergine in the dish, cut-side down. Make sure the surface and insides of the slits are all smeared with the marinade. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

6. When almost ready to roast, preheat the oven to 200°C. Prepare a baking tray and sheet of foil or baking paper big enough to wrap the aubergine.

7. Remove the aubergine from the marinade and place cut-side up on the baking paper or foil. Bring the edges of the foil together and twist to seal, making a little parcel. Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes.

8. After 20 minutes, take the tray out of the oven and open up the parcel. Smear the aubergines with more of the reserved marinade and drizzle the with olive oil. Return to the oven and roast uncovered for another 20–30 minutes, or until the flesh is very tender, almost collapsing, and the tops are caramelized.

9. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving and scooping out the flesh. Blitz the aubergine to a smooth purée in a mini mixer with some lemon juice, salt and pepper.

10. Heat a heavy grill or pan and fry the seasoned duck breast for 7 minutes or so each side, depending how pink you like it. Let it rest for five minutes before slicing and serving with the aubergine and pickle.

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