i’m taking a little break from re-living the greatest highlights of my trip, and chatting instead about this duck breast i cooked last week. i usually buy my duck breast from fresh direct. it comes vacuum sealed and frozen. a package runs about $15-$20, and you get a massive duck breast (larger than anything i’ve ever carved from a whole duck). the picture above shows half of the duck breast.
way back i took a class at fci about preparing easy meals. about the only thing i remember is that cooking lamb fat causes fireworks and that duck breast tastes really really good when brined. in fact, just about everything tastes good brined. all the flavors of the brine seep into the muscle of the protein…flavor flavor everywhere, all for you and me!
Brined & Roasted Duck Breast
|Duck Breast||1 whole duck breast (2 to 2.5 lbs)|
|Star Anise||2 whole pods|
|Juniper Berries||1 tbsp|
|Mustard Seeds||1 tbsp|
|Onion||1-2 medium sized ones|
- Prepare the Brine: (at least 24 hours before) Bring water to a boil. Turn off heat and stir in salt, star anise, juniper berries, mustard seeds, pepper and cinnamon. Stir until salt dissolves. Let cool to room temperature. When cooled, pour the brining solution into a ziploc bag set inside a bowl. Then place the rinsed duck breast into the brining solution. Seal the bag. Place into the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
- Prepare the Roasting Dish: Pre-heat oven to 400ºF. In a small pan or roasting dish, place a few onions and tomatoes that are chopped into half or left whole. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Make sure to leave sufficient room for the duck. Place into oven for 20 minutes.
- Cooking the duck breast: Remove the brined duck breast from the solution. With a fork, puncture the skin of the duck a few times. Heat a large skillet (i use a deep stock pot because the sides prevent the duck grease from splattering my kitchen) and drop the breast skin side down first. Sear for 5-6 minutes on both sides. A lot of duck fat will be rendered.
- Roasting the Duck: Carefully arrange the duck on the hot roasting dish (from step 2). Roast for 12 to 15 minutes until the duck is medium rare. Yet more duck fat will be rendered.
- Finishing: Let the duck rest for 10 minutes before carving into thin slices.