Sunday, June 10, 2007

A perfect Duck Breast

Friday dinner - and I was preparing a dinner with the main course - fried duck breast. A challenge to prepare in the right way...

I was initiated into the noble art of preparing duck breast in Brussels, and my friend Øivind Grimsmo has the honour of this initiation.

I had bought two breasts in Sweden, frozen. The price of this ingredient is one third there compared to Norway. Here this is a luxury at nearly €50 a kilo, compared to €15 in Sweden, This due to a stupid policy of protecting a very small domestic production.

The tricky thing is not to over cook, nor under cook the breast. Under cooked poultry may be a source to serious food poisoning. Over cooking, however, makes the meat less succulent and tasty.

How to prepare a perfectly succulent duck breast

The duck breast has a thick layer of fat. Do not remove, but allow the duck, literally to fry in its own fat. Use a sharp knife to make incisions into the layer of fat. This will allow it to escape, and create a crispy delicious crust on the finished product. Rub it liberally with salt and pepper.

Put a non stick pan on a moderate heat. Place the breast, fat side down, and soon you will discover that most of the fat will be in the pan, and not on the duck. Fry the breast slowly, in order to avoid the crispy skin to burn. When the colour on the upper side turns from red to grey, turn the it and allow to fry for a few minutes.

Then take the breast out and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes. Slice it with a very sharp knife.

And the other ingredients.....

I served the duck with baby potatoes, with skin and all, tossed in salt, pepper and herbs, and baked in the oven. Vegge - asparagus with Spanish Serrano ham, with pepper (the ham is salty), olive oil and baked for 10 minutes.

Sauce. I peeled 20 chalottes, fried them in hot butter, added red wine until covering the onions, and allowed to reduce. I removed the onions, and placed them in a tray and baked them with the asparagus, and added butter to the reduction. Yum!!

There are several other ways to prepare duck breasts. One colleague use cointreau at the end of the frying process. Caution - as the liqueur may ignite at high heat!! The combination orange and duck is famous, both in the far east and in the west.

Try to find you own variety, and what ever you do - keep the duck fat in the fridge. It is marvellous to use in you cooking!!

God luck - and enjoy!!

Wondering what to cook today?

See other recipes on Enjoy Food & Travel here!!

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