Pan Seared Duck Breast
(Photo : Sally Chance)
"Duck is my favourite dish when dining out..."
Duck is my favourite dish when dinning out. It's a regular on many restaurant menus but not in the home kitchen; probably because most people are not familiar with the cooking process required, and the yield of one duck for two people can be pricey. However, the flavour rewards are worth every bit of effort.
Always begin by removing the 'pope's nose' regardless of the cooking procedure to eliminate any impurities.
A great starting point is 'duck a l'orange' (roast duck with orange sauce). Memories of cooking this when I was training at Christina Martin's School of Food and Wine, spring to mind. It has since become one of my all-time favourites; a true classical expression of gourmet French cuisine. I appreciate the citrus flavours that offset the richness of the flesh.
Duck thighs can be confit (cooked in their own fat), on simmer, for three hours. Keep in an airtight container with an inch of duck fat to cover all the meat. This process, used in days gone by, preserves the flesh and the result is a deep, dark meat when oven heated to serve. It is succulently juicy with a crispy skin.
Duck breasts, can be pan seared and cooked in a very hot oven. With all poultry I suggest you place a little water at the base of the pan to maintain as much moisture as possible. This means a combination of poaching and roasting. Internationally, duck breasts are served rare but I find our South African ducks a bit 'chewy', so I tend to serve this dish medium-rare to medium, depending on the quality of the duck.
Off cuts and leftover meat can be used to fill Asian spring rolls made with lots of freshly sliced lemongrass, lemon zest and hand-picked spearmint. This is a taste and texture explosion!
Duck livers can be transformed into a delicious spread served with homemade Melba toast.
Duck fat should be made into 'liquid gold' and kept for when you choose to confit duck thighs. To share a 'secret' tip… At Hartford House we sear our beef fillets in this. The result is a tantalising outer richness and caramelisation.
When you next feel like a dish that is different, interesting and exciting place a duck into your trolley and try these recipes.
(Contact Dargle Ducks on 033 234 4227 for orders.)
Take these recipes and try them.