Since my gastronomical rampage through the Niagara region, I’ve been trying to cook at home more so that my bank account can recover, and so that I can be a little bit healthier too. My latest experiment? Duck.
Now as a person that generally only cooks trout and green beans, taking on duck might seem like a stretch. But I figured that if I was going to spend an entire evening working on a meal, I want to taste something that tastes good. And duck has long been a fascination of mine. I rarely see it on restaurant menus and I’ve never watched anyone cook it, so it has a certain mystery about it. Plus, I mean, there’s just something so luxurious and impressive about eating duck on a Tuesday night.
So first of all, it took me two groceries stores to even find any duck. My local Loblaws was no help. The seventeen year old behind the butcher counter didn’t even seem to understand what I was asking for. Clearly, he has not been watching enough Food Network. So on I went to my local butcher in Kingston where I was offered a whole duck first (which was too much of a challenge - no good) before I found duck breasts. And would you believe a single breast of duck costs over fourteen dollars? I did not know this. As such, I decided my loved one and I would be sharing.
Next came a little googling to figure out temperatures and such. Easy stuff. A little olive oil and butter in the pan over medium heat, and pat the duck dry first. Make sure you score the skin so that the fat can render and it gets nice and crispy. I probably could’ve scored mine a little more. Apparently you should be scoring every half inch or so. Don’t cut the meat though, just the skin! Or Gordon Ramsay will have your head.
Next, place the breast in the pan skin side down. Now leave it there for about 7 minutes. Don’t touch it. You will be tempted to fool around with it and move it around in the pan, but that will ruin the crisping of the skin. Go walk away and drink a quick cocktail or something while you wait.
After the time is up, flip the breast and sear the other side for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, you should be heating your oven to 400 degrees. Once the two minutes is up, put the duck into a corningware dish. Add a bit of olive oil, but not much because the duck fat will do most of the work. Into the oven it goes for ten minutes.
Then what I did was melt some butter, brown sugar, and beer in a saucepan over medium heat until it formed a glaze. Pour that over the duck in the oven every couple minutes to make the skin nice and caramelized and delicious. After ten minutes, take the duck out and let it rest. When it’s done resting, slice it on a bias and serve with your favourite veg. I used baked sweet potatoes.
It will be so delicious that your boyfriend’s friend will call in the middle of the meal to specifically ask about the duck and how it tastes. (Yes, this happened. Word about duck gets around fast among men!)