If you're one who enjoys the delicious succulence of duck, but are afraid to attempt it at home, you're not alone. Many feel the same way! However, I'm going to clear up the mystery and show you that cooking duck is not the daunting task many make it out to be. In fact, if you follow this simple recipe, in three hours you'll be serving a meal of tender, juicy duck meat wrapped in the crispiest outer layer of skin you could ever imagine.
For this recipe, I chose to prepare the duck with a side of Rösti Potatoes and a crisp salad.
Recipe for Orange Sauce:
by Len Boccassini
Let's face it, cooking duck can be somewhat intimidating to even the most hardened home cook. After all, it's not an item commonly found on the shelves of your local grocery store (unless frozen), and in most cases, even after you returned home with your frozen block of duck, you're lost. My recommendation for beginners is if you don't happen to stumble across a duck breast at your local supermarket, opt for purchasing it from a butcher in your neighborhood who can break down the bird in the proper manner. It can be an invaluable lesson in how it should be done correctly.
Okay, let us assume that reading the paragraph above has induced you to pick up a duck breast or two and give it a whirl. Now what? Well, it's in actuality it is far easier than you would think.
Let's begin by saying that Duck is indeed an oddball among its feathered brethren; red-meat poultry that can be served rare without fear of contracting Salmonella or some other dreadful disease. In fact, it is best eaten rare - pinkish to dark-red in color - and anything else can be described as overdone. This makes it a quick and easy meal to prepare even on a weeknight.
For this recipe, cooking time is perhaps ten minutes, rest time is twenty. In a half hour, you're ready to eat. When finished, the outer skin is crispy and can be almost deemed poultry bacon, while the meat inside is as moist and succulent as the finest ham you've ever encountered.
1. Prepare marinade as shown above. Marinade duck breast for several hours. Cut a criss-cross pattern in skin of duck breast, being careful not to pierce the meat beneath the skin. You can do this either before of after marinading (as shown above).
2. Sprinkle duck breasts with salt and pepper and set skin side down within a dry, unheated skillet (I prefer cast iron) on the stove top (as shown below). Turn up the heat to medium/high and once they begin to cook, allow the breasts continue cooking undisturbed for at least 5 or 6 minutes.
3. You will shortly hear a crackling sound similar to bacon frying, and in much the same manner, see the skillet beginning to fill with bubbling pools of melting fat (as shown in the photo below). Resist all urges to move the breasts about and allow it to cook undisturbed as those five or six minutes tick away. After the time has elapsed, you may lift edge of breast to check on the crispiness level. If it's not crispy, allow it to cook a minute or so longer. When its texture is similar to that of bacon, carefully tilt pan to remove most of the oil (save it!) and turn breasts over. Allow to cook another 2 to 4 minutes, depending on your desired level of doneness. Remove breasts from pan and LET REST for 15 to 20 minutes. Cut it any sooner and you will lose all of the moistness within.
4. After the breasts have properly rested, thinly slice on the bias and garnish with crispy-fried red onions cooked in the oil you previously set aside from the skillet. You can do this while the duck rests.