Sunday, February 22, 2009

Duck Amuck

I was experimenting recently with a breast of duck from Bulk Cheese Warehouse, a refined cheese shop and butchers here in Saskatoon. I had gone in for pork, but the guy behind the counter drew my attention to the duck. As he put it, no pun intended it would seem, the duck breasts were "flying out the door." What to do with the breast, though? Canard a l'orange would be great, but a bit beyond my means right now. It was left to me to experiment.
One thing that I recall from the duck cooking demos in Montreal was to cross hatch the skin so the fat could more easily melt away from the duck. A good thing to do, believe me, duck is fatty. But I had to season it somehow, so first settled on marinating it in Irish whiskey (Tullamore Dew) for a couple of hours. I then chose nutmeg, saffron, ground allspice and Dutch cocoa to coat the meat. I let that sit for a bit and pressed cracked black pepper into the skin.
I overcooked it for sure - I am not that familiar with duck. However the flavour is good and cocoa seems to compliment duck quite well. I served up baked carrots and an orzo "salad". I chopped up parsley and with onion, mixed it in olive oil and a pinch of salt and then added that to the still hot orzo pasta.

- Magnus