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Seriously Simple: Duck Breast LeDomaine is my Spanish heaven

By Diane Rossen Worthington, Tribune Content Agency on

Hotel Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, www.ledomaine.es, a one-hour train ride or a two-hour drive from Madrid, is situated in the middle of the Spanish wine country area of Castilla y Leon. Hotel Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, originally a 12th-century abbey, has been converted into a 5-star retreat with a world-class winery. Unique in its architecture and having been restored to resemble the past with modern amenities, this is a spot that features dreamy serenity mixed with exquisite food and wine. And it was just rated No. 1 hotel in Spain by TripAdvisor.

From the moment you drive up the pebbly road, it feels different. Each guest is treated personal attention; that is difficult to find in this day and age. In addition to beautiful accommodations, there is an outdoor pool that sits among the vineyards as well as an underground spa complete with an indoor pool and comfy sanctuary massage rooms. Before treatments you are asked to smell different wines so the masseuse can associate the fragrance with the perfect oil for your massage.

Everything is well thought out for the guests' pleasure. Whether it is a wine tasting across the road, a meal at a local restaurant that specializes in baby lamb, a visit to the city of Valladolid, or a walk around the property with binoculars to view the great variety of birds, Hotel Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine delivers on all fronts. And then there is the food.

The bread is reason enough to enjoy a meal here. I spent a morning with the chef and pastry chef in the kitchen, where we made their amazing crispy-crusted country bread along with brioche and a French toast made with brioche.

I didn't ever want to leave the kitchen!

The main dining room has been renovated but still resembles the abbey and even had an original mural on it from hundreds of years ago. Out of all the dishes I enjoyed, the duck breast was my favorite. It was cooked beautifully with crisp skin, yet still medium-rare, and I loved the sweet- slightly tart dried fruit sauce. And it's so easy to replicate. I'm still working on their crisp caramelized brioche fingers dessert, and will bring that to you soon. For now, enjoy my version of their duck breast. And by all means accompany it with a Spanish red wine.

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The key to the duck's crisp skin is letting it dry out overnight in the refrigerator, so start this the day before you plan to serve it. Quick to put together and much less messy than roasting a whole duck, the breasts are a perfect main course for a small dinner party. You and your guests can gather in the kitchen as you cook them up. This recipe will serve four to six, depending upon how large the duck breasts are and how big your guests' appetites are. Try to find fresh duck breasts, because the frozen variety tend to become rubbery. Muscovy or Hudson Valley ducks are preferable.

Duck Breast LeDomaine Abadia Retuerta

Serves 4 to 6

4 boned duck breast halves, with the skin left on (3/4 to 1 pound each)

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