I am not really one for pre-packaged, imported meats, but I would be lying if I said I didn't have my weaknesses. One of them being anything French. Like duck, par example. Perhaps I should blame it on the horrendous weather we've been having in the Netherlands (imagine mid-September), but recently I couldn't get duck out of my head. Especially the fabulous duck specialties from the South-West which I so much adore.
That's why I couldn't help myself when I spotted two vacuum-packed duck breasts at our local supermarket. I needed DUCK and tonight I would EAT duck! And the fabulous thing: they looked gorgeous! Not scary at all!
So how did I prepare these quackers you ask? And how did they taste? Well, let me begin by saying that they were amazing. Succulent, tender and actually fresher and milder in taste than most of the duck I've had.
I wanted to serve the duck in the same style as they once served it to me at a lovely restaurant in Duras: with a small serving of sunny ratatouille and pommes persillées.
The first thing I did was let the duck breasts come to room temperature. After that, I dried them well with kitchen paper, carved the skins in a criss-cross pattern and seasoned them well on both sides with salt and pepper. The duck breasts then went into a hot, dry frying pan skin-side down and cooked for approximately 2-3 minutes until the skins were browned and beautifully crisp. I then turned them over, lowered the heat just a little and gave them about 5-6 more minutes. After that, I took them out of the pan and degalzed the pan with a shot of cognac followed by about a glas of madeira. While that was bubbling away, I carved the breasts into slices and transfered them back to the pan with the juices for an extra minute or two. I put them on a plate, added a small knob of butter to the juices and poured it on top of the breasts.
Of course, you'll want to serve this with a great wine. Perhaps an elegant Médoc.