DUCK BREASTS with Black Olives, on a bed of Risotto

Clean Sink is not about the fancy. It's not about the expensive. But sometimes a girl has got to treat herself. So we celebrated Wednesday night with this:

Be sure to render off the duck fat; the fat is terrible if chewy. But if you can get it right it's amazing. It's tender and red-fleshed, like steak, but with a rich yet delicate flavor. The sauce in the duck dish has immense flavor, too.

4 ounces (about 3 slices) thick-sliced slab bacon, cut crosswise into pieces
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup chicken stock
2/3 cup medium-dry red wine... something spanish or portuguese
3/4 to 1 cup oil-cured black olives: pitted, halved,
l duck breast halves per person
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the fat begins to render, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and stir in the rosemary and thyme, simmer until fragrant (a few minutes). pour in the stock and port, and bring to a boil. Cook for a minute, then add the olives and remove the pan from the heat.

2. With a knife, score the skin of the duck breasts in a crosshatch pattern, being mindful not to cut into the flesh. Pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add the breasts skin side down and sear until crisp, allowing the fat to render slowly, 10 to 15 minutes. Don't rush this or it'll go chewy. Flip and sear the other side for 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, bring the sauce back to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Nestle in the breasts, skin side up, and cook for 4 to 6 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer the duck to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

4. Slice the breasts on an angle, arrange on plates, and spoon the sauce and olives on top.

We served it atop a mound of risotto. perhaps we'll share how to make that tomorrow.