Saturday, March 14, 2009

Getting back on the horse...with duck

Wow it has been a long time since my last post! I could go into all the reasons why my time and energy totally disappeared from the wonderful world of food blogging but then i would deviate even more from the nature of Offalboy.

I must confess, i feel a bit guilty for having written nothing about offal on this site. I guess it mirrors my eating habits though. I have yet to take the time to prepare something offal, but by my word that will change and change soon! I will cast away time constraints and tricky sourcing in order to no longer falsely advertise the content of my foodwritings. Ehm...that being said, as much as i do like offal and the technical aspects of that kind of cooking, what is more, i most of all like the philosophy of it. Using the whole animal, or nose to tail eating as the great Fergus Henderson would have us call it is not only a noble way of treating out animals but also essential, and without going to much out on the environmentalist trail, I'll just leave you guys with the wove that i will lead by my own example, or should i say eat!

Oh and i almost forgot. I will get back into this in a rather celebratory way. I cooked duck breast today! Or to go all pretentious restaurant menu on you guys; Pan roasted duck breast with oven roasted balsamic glazed red onions, almonds and chiffonade of basil. This isn't the most exciting season for vegetables but thinking about it onions actually seem like the perfect combo here even if I would disregard the seasonality of the ingredients.

Duck breast
Organic red onions
Balsamic vinegar (di moderna)
Olive oil

Oven on 200C or approx. 375F
Oven proof skillet
Hotel pan
Aluminum foil

Ok here we go. Proceed to cut the tops and bottoms of the onions, however don't cut of to much since the “root” end is important for the structural integrity of the onion. With that small operation done halve and peel of any tough layers before dumping them into a small hotel pan or other oven proof vessel. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and throughly drench in the balsamic (and do use a moderna, read cheap kind, balsamic for this. Save the real stuff for other things).

Turn the onions cut side up if they aren't already and season with salt and pepper. Also sprinkle a pinch of sugar on each halve to help bring out the natural sweetens of the onion but also to balance the acidity of the vinegar.

Slither a garlic clove and throw the slices over the onions. Then get yourself a few stems of basil leaves and make them follow the garlic slices into the pan (I think sage would be another great herb to use here but basil is what I had growing in the kitchen window today).

If your me, pause to take a picture at this point, otherwise cover with aluminum foil and put into the warm oven.

Hopefully you have had your duck out on the bench for a while so it is not icy cold. Lightly score its skin, but don't go to deep, its just to allow the fat to render out more easily, you defiantly don't want to see any flesh through your slits in the fat. Season the breast liberally with salt and rub it into the skin side.

Now I don't actually know the best practice way of pan frying a duck breast but I do it at a low medium heat in order to render out as much of the wonderful nectars of the gods (duckfat!). As the fat releases the skin also turns a wonderful golden brown, crispy and delicious. Once at this state, pour of the fat AND SAVE IT! Flip the breast over and let it join the pan in the oven. This is also a good time to take of the foil of.

Chop some almonds and cut the basil into garnish size pieces while you wait for everything to come together. The duck should be pink so don't let it play in the oven for to long. You also need to rest it as long as you can keep your greedy paws of it in order to let the juices in it relax.

Plating is of course a personal thing but here is mine. Sprinkled with the almonds, to ad a textural dimension, and basil to echo the ingredient in the onion roast.

Enjoy, I certainly did!

Oh and by the way, I tested this and cutting the duck in the esthetically correct sort of angeled diagonal way is not at all the way to do it. The duck will eat much more tender if you just slice it straight down since the fibers in the meat will be shorter in each slice.

1 comment:

charcuteire said...

Followed the trail of offal back from Ruhlman.

I will add you to sites to check regularily.

I post most places as ntsc.