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Duck Tales: A Head to Tail Duck Cooking

Duck Tales: A Head to Tail Duck Cooking

Seared duck breast with lemon, ginger, and pickled grapes (photo by k.k.)

Katie Kwan | Chef's Blade


Step 1: 8 hours before eating, carve you duck breasts and pat dry.

Step 2: Fix a brine by bringing 1 c water to boil with spices of your choice. I used around 6 cloves, 1 avocado leaf crumbled, 1/2 t mustard seeds, a stick of cinnamon, 4 allspice berries, 1/2 t mulling spices w/ dried orange peel. Bring to boil, and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the water. Allow to cool and mix with 5 c cold water, sugar and salt until well incorporated. Submerge breasts in water, cover, and refrigerate for 6 hours (up to 2 days if desired).

Step 3: Make the duck broth 4 hours before eating time.

Step 4: Pickle grapes by bringing 1/2 c vinegar, 1/2 sugar, spices, and salt to a boil. Remove from flame, allow to cool and pour over sliced grapes in pickling jar. Seal and refrigerate.

Step 5: 45 minutes before serving, boil your potato, cubed, for 15 minutes. Test to see if done. Boil longer if needed. When tender, drain, add cream, and duck broth. Fluff to a creamy consistency. Adjust liquids if needed. Salt and pepper to taste.

Step 6: 15 minutes before serving, remove your breasts from the brine, rise off excess brine, and pat dry with a clean towel.

Step 7: Heat a small saucepan on med-high and add a bit of render fat from the duck broth. When the fat shimmers, place the duck skin side down and fry for 5 minutes until a crispy skin develops. Flip and sear for 4 more minutes. Remove. (My breast were small. For a 7-8 lb duck, sear the breasts for 6-8 minutes on the skin and 6 minutes on the other side)

Step 8: Deglaze the pan by adding the duck broth, lemon zest, garlic, ginger, and lemon juice. Reduce until the suace is velvety. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss in a couple tablespoons of drained pickled grapes.

Slice and plate the duck breast on top of mashed potatoes with the sultry sauce and more grapes for garnish.