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Monday, March 29, 2010

Duck: The Eating Kind

There are very few things I will not eat.  Actually, there is nothing I won't eat.  There are foods that I love, adore, crave, and cherish.  Duck is one of them.  I can eat any kind of duck; roasted, fried, pan-seared, shredded, tea-smoked, or Peking-style.  I have prepared all of them.  I have even made duck prosciutto with wasabi  paste and roasted pistachio nuts.  Fabulous.  My favorite way to have duck is pan-seared, medium rare, sliced,  and plated any way, on anything, and with anything.  I adore the fatty crisp skin  paired with the succulant pink juicy meat.  I like the dark meat on any bird; chicken thighs and legs, goose, quail, cornish hens, turkey,  and duck. Duck is different, though.  It's more luxurious. More moist. More mouthy and chewy.  The medium rare to rare pink temperature allows it a mouthfeel insanity.

Last night I wanted every flavor I love and crave wrapped around duck.  Into it. On it. Under it.  Over it. My goal was stir-fried vegetables with rice noodles topped with pan-seared duck. I scored the skin of two duck breasts, marinated them in sweet teriyaki suace, patted them dry, slathered them with black bean paste, and sprinkled fresh snipped chives over the skin.  Reserved.

I shaved carrots into ribbons, thinly sliced green peppers, minced  garlic and ginger, thinly sliced onions, and chopped some fresh cilantro.

I wanted a spicy sweet sauce, so I mixed  garlic chile paste, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, oyster sauce, Sriracha sauce, and soy sauce with a a dusting of cornstarch and set it aside.

The rice noodles were steeped in boiling water until tender and translucent.

I started the duck breasts in a cold pan skin side down and pushed the heat to medium allowing the skin to slowly render into a crackling sweet salty blanket.  Once they reached a sizzle, I turned them over for a couple of minutes to caramelize the flesh side, removed them from the pan, tented them to keep warm, and let the breasts rest to redistribute their juices.

After adding the vegetables to the pan to saute until tender, I tossed in the rice noddles, the sauce and simmered to combine.
I plated the vegetables and noodles into a large pasta bowl, sliced the duck, fanned it over the top, and showered it  fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

The flavors and textures hit every part of my tongue and mouth. It was tart, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy, with a hint of  umami for complete balance and mystery.

Its sultry look teased me like a food whore.  It tasted even better.

I have been to Duck and enjoyed it, but I would rather eat duck.

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