Truffles, Duck, and Very Expensive Bordeaux

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. Put the duck breast in the freezer for 15 minutes, this will help firm up the fat so it’s easier to score
  2. 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!
  3. Score again perpendicular to the first round
  4. Place the duck breast skin side down in a COLD non-stick pan, ideally cast iron
  5. Turn on the burner to low or medium low and do something else for a few minutes, the fat will start to melt
  6. 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!
  7. 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!
  8. It will take between 10 and 15 minutes for the skin to render and yield a LOT of fat and be nice and crispy
  9. Once it’s where you want it, crank up the heat and flip the breasts
  10. For medium rare, which is the correct temp, cook them till they reach 125 F internally, which will be another 5 minutes or so
  11. Let rest for a few minutes and then carve and serve with truffle mashed potatoes! Or with salad. Or with anything.