DUCK QUARTET SALAD with ROASTED SHALLOT CANE VINAIGRETTE
by Jamie Shannon
Like variations on a theme, this quartet of duck preparations by Jamie Shannon highlights the versatility of duck and foie gras. The resulting salad offers intriguing contrasts among the textures and flavors of the sweet, supple prosciutto, the browned, crisp cracklings, the salty, dense smoked breast, and the earthy, silken foie gras.
YIELD: 4 APPETIZER SERVINGS
DUCK PROSCIUTTO - Purchase Duck Prosciutto Online
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup coarse salt
3 juniper berries
1 duck breast
In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, salt, and juniper berries. Pack the duck breast in the mixture and refrigerate for 6 to 8 days. When done, the breasts should be firm to the touch, with a completely cooked texture and no evidence of raw meat. Wipe off the seasoning completely, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate.
MARINATED SMOKED DUCK BREAST - Purchase Smoked Duck Breast Online
3 cups water
1/2 cup coarse salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 star anise
1-inch piece cinnamon stick
1 duck breast
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup Jack Daniel's
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons coarse salt
In a large saucepan, combine the water, salt, sugar, clove, star anise, and cinnamon, and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer this solution to a clean container and submerge the duck breast in it. Allow the duck breast to cure, refrigerated, for up to 12 hours. Remove from the curing solution and rinse. Set up a cold smoker and heat to 85 degrees. Place the duck breast in the smoker and smoke for 2 hours. Chill.
In a small mixing bowl, combine, the orange juice, Jack Daniel's, brown sugar, and salt. Marinate the smoked duck breast in this mixture overnight. Remove the breast from the marinade and discard the marinade. Score the duck skin into a diamond pattern, cutting three-fourths of the way into the skin. Heat a small saute pan over medium heat and cook the duck breast slowly, rendering as much fat as possible without burning the skin. Turn the breast over and cook to medium rare. Remove from the pan and set aside until service.
5 shallots, peeled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 ounces cane vinegar (see Chef Notes)
1 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the shallots lightly with the vegetable oil and roast them in a small pan for 30 minutes or until soft. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the roasted shallots, mustard, and vinegar. With the motor on, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream to form an emulsion. Set aside until service.
Skin of 1 duck breast, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 cup water
Place the strips of duck skin in a small saucepan with water and cook over medium heat until all the fat is rendered and the skin becomes crisp. Strain, set the cracklings aside, and reserve the fat for another use.
CANE VINEGAR REDUCTION
4 cups cane vinegar
In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, reduce the vinegar until only 1/4 cup remains, about 1 and 1/2 hours. Set aside.
FOIE GRAS - Purchase Foie Gras Online
8 ounces foie gras cut into 4 slices, each 2 ounces and 1/2-inch thick, scored
Black pepper, freshly ground
4 quail eggs
SALAD, FOIE GRAS, AND GARNISH
1/4 pound mesclun greens
1 orange, sectioned
2 ounces fresh peas
Using a meat slicer or a very sharp knife, slice the duck prosciutto into thin strips, being careful to keep the fat attached to the meat. Slice the smoked duck breast thinly, on the bias. In a large mixing bowl, place the mesclun greens, duck prosciutto, smoked duck, orange segments, and peas. Toss with the roasted shallot vinaigrette. Divide the salad evenly among the four serving plates. Heat a large saute pan over high heat until hot. Season the foie gras slices with salt and pepper and sear for 20 seconds per side. Place each slice atop a salad. In a small non-stick saute pan over medium heat, fry the quail eggs sunny side up. Place one on top of each piece of foie gras. Garnish each plate with a few duck cracklings and drizzle the vinegar reduction over the top.
Cane vinegar, a Louisiana specialty, is a by-product of sugar production. One of the most popular brands is Steens. If you cannot smoke your own duck breast, you can usually purchase it, as well as duck prosciutto, from specialty meat purveyors.