Monday, January 17, 2011


My friend Billie approached me about a week ago with a proposition.  She had acquired a plethora of duck breasts and offered to share them with me.  Being duck season here in Tennessee, and having never prepared duck before, I jumped at the chance.  So last Sunday before the SnOMG 2011 hit Memphis, I headed over to her house.  I was thinking I would be getting 4-6 breasts, but she loaded me up a whopping 12!  Already dressed and cleaned and frozen!!  For free!!!  Holy crap!  So I spent a week thinking about what I should do with them.  I was worried that because they were wild duck breasts that they would be gamey and unpleasant.  I had planned on brining them to get rid of the game flavor, but when they thawed I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had absolutely no smell what-so-ever.  They were extremely fresh!  Another score!  So what I ended up doing was I let them come to room temperature and then soaked them in a bath of balsamic vinegar.  Then I heated up a large skillet with equal parts butter and olive oil and seared them for about 4-5 minutes on each side, making them just shy of medium rare, still a little red on the inside.  There was no gamey taste to speak of.  I served them with Ina Garten's Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash, minus the saffron (I'm broke, bitch...  I can't afford no saffron...) plus some sauteed Porcini mushrooms.  The risotto alone would have been an amazing meal, but as a side to a rare duck breast...  incredible.  See:

I did, however end up crunching into some buckshot in my breast, but that's the price you pay for fresh, wild duck I guess.

So tonight I had a ton of duck breast left over.  I've been craving salad for a little while, and my grocery store happened to have some really good looking Asian pears...  so here's what I ended up doing:

Duck Salad with Orange Balsamic Dressing

~8oz. Baby Sprig Mix (something including arugala, baby spinach, and other yummy things)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 Asian pears, cut into thin slices
11oz plain, good quality goat cheese, crumbled
zest of 1 large, naval orange

Combine everything in a large mixing bowl and mix with clean hands.  To make the dressing, juice your orange through your hand so as to avoid any seeds, pulp, etc.  Mix together equal parts orange juice, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil, whisking while doing so.  Cut pan seared duck breast (see above) into very thin slices and arrange atop the salad.  Drizzle with dressing.

It didn't occur to me until later that I should have waited until after I'd assembled the whole salad to add the orange zest.  That would have made it much more visually stunning, but oh well...  The end result was the same.  Totally freaking the best effing salad ever made.  No kidding.  Serve with a Blue Moon (too bad I didn't have any) or a glass of fruity red wine (I like Syrah, but some say that's too bold for duck...  to them I say :P).

The End


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