Pierre was ready to attack this plate this minute it reached the table, so no pretty plating for today. A bit messy, but one of the best lunch dishes I’ve made in a while. I’ve been craving duck in all forms recently – legs, foie gras, gizzards, breast. Anything duck! These cravings get particularly expensive so I figured I better learn how to cook a few dishes myself. First up, Magret de Canard. We rarely cook anything fancy at home…so if I can do it, you sure can. Three components to this dish:
1. Sautéed Pears
2. Haricot Verts
2. Magret de Canard
1. For the Sautéed Pears, peel and core a bosc pear. Cut into 8 pieces. Melt a pat of butter over medium heat and cook the pears for five minutes, until golden brown on both sides. I like to add a bit of sugar while cooking to caramelize it just a bit.
2. Trim the Haricot Verts. Blanch in boiling water 3 minutes. Drain and shock in cold water. Sauté with olive oil and salt for a few minutes. Add a handful of slivered almonds. Continue cooking until the almonds turn light brown, remove from heat.
3. I bought the Magret de Canard from our neighborhood Citarella on 9th Street and 6th Avenue. It’s $12.99/pound, and each breast piece is approximately a pound, give or take a few ounces. The duck comes from Hudson Valley Foie Gras & Duck Products – top notch products. They also sell all their products online, very convenient.
Using a sharp knife, make a tight crosshatch pattern going across the entire skin/fat side of the duck breast. Salt and pepper both sides.
Place skin side down, medium-high heat, and start cooking off all that fat. A ton of fat will start to pool at the bottom of the pan. Keep a bowl on the side so you can drain or spoon off the fat every few minutes. Continue cooking like this for about 10 minutes until the bulk of the fat has rendered off, and the remaining fat is crisp, golden.
Note: some people save this duck fat for cooking, but I dump it out. The fat has essentially ‘burned’ off and won’t be nearly as good as “clean” duck fat. Hudson Valley Foie Gras also carried duck fat by the 2-pound bucket for $12.50.
Then turn over and cook meat side down for a minute – it should be rare at the center. Remove to a cutting board. Pierre usually comes to the kitchen after around this time and takes care of the slicing. And I use that bonus time (always helpful!) to finish the haricot verts and plate it with the sautéed pears.
30-minutes, start to finish. Perfect timing, and a pretty balanced meal ;) Bon appétit!