On this episode Emily and I will cover the luxurious side of the Aquitaine/Bordeaux/Dordogne/Perigord region.
This is the third part of our three part episode on this region. In part 1, we talked about the Dordogne and I developed a lovely recipe for walnut tarts. In part 2, we chatted all things Bordeaux and I made up a yummy steak with Bordelaise sauce.
We chat all things Foie Gras – I am a strong defender! And I reference this great article from Serious Eats.
This week we talked about doing duck with a truffle sauce, but duck isn’t served with truffle sauces generally so I decided to just work on some plain ole duck, which by itself is decadent enough, and shave some truffles over my mashed potatoes.
Duck was the first food I had that made me feel like maybe I was into food. I was 12 and my stepdad took me into the city (San Francisco) to see a play. We went to a fancy French restaurant first and I had the duck. I felt so grown up, and I thought it was amazing!
How to Cook a Duck Breast
Luckily, duck is extremely easy to cook at home.
I am not very into cooking from recipes. I think it’s really important to learn how to trust yourself when cooking rather than following instructions.
When cooking meat to perfection, whatever timing I give you here is meaningless, you need to practice and play! The only thing I will offer in terms of real specificity is that I highly recommend getting an electric thermometer. They aren’t cheap and will set you back about $50 but they are so worth it and they will really help you never overcook your meat.
Serves 2, these are huge
- 1 magret de canard – a large duck breast from a foie gras duck
- salt and pepper
- Sauce bordelaise if you want
- Put the duck breast in the freezer for 15 minutes, this will help firm up the fat so it’s easier to score
- With a very sharp knife, score the skin through the fat, trying to cut to the flesh but not through it. Don’t be mad if it’s not perfect!
- Score again perpendicular to the first round
- Place the duck breast skin side down in a COLD non-stick pan, ideally cast iron
- Turn on the burner to low or medium low and do something else for a few minutes, the fat will start to melt
- As the fat renders out of the skin, hold the breast with tongs and pour out the fat into a bowl, never throw away duck fat use it to cook some potatoes tomorrow or in a few days!
- You’ll need to do this a lot, there is a lot of fat. Check the skin occasionally to make sure it isn’t starting to burn and turn down the heat if it is!
- It will take between 10 and 15 minutes for the skin to render and yield a LOT of fat and be nice and crispy
- Once it’s where you want it, crank up the heat and flip the breasts
- For medium rare, which is the correct temp, cook them till they reach 125 F internally, which will be another 5 minutes or so
- Let rest for a few minutes and then carve and serve with truffle mashed potatoes! Or with salad. Or with anything.