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Pan-fried or in tartare, how to cook a delicious duck breast?

First of all, a clarification: no, you do not need a well-cooked duck breast, but rosé. It is the first (the only one?) Command which applies to the cooking of this tasty part of the duck, formerly ignored then highlighted, magnified, criticized then returned to the taste of the day. This is the story described by columnist Olivier Poels in the program Historically yours on Europe 1. With, as a bonus, a good recipe for cooking it properly and delighting its guests in love with good meat.

A fatty thread

No one invented duck breast. The name magret comes with the fatty duck: we call a duck fillet this part of the animal when the duck has not been fattened. And it is called a duck breast when it comes from a duck that has been fattened and force-fed for foie gras. So the magret is necessarily a fatty duck. Otherwise, it’s called a duck fillet. Obviously, the force-fed duck has a breast which is also fatter.

Force-feeding in the South-West really started in the second half of the 18th century. At the time, the ducks were crammed for the liver, it was removed and the rest of the duck was not used. We make confit and we make confit with the thighs and the duck breast.

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True noble piece

It was chef André Daguin who, in 1959, was the first to have the idea of ​​enhancing this piece of duck and making it a gourmet dish, to stop going into canned duck confit. This chef is based in Auch. Its restaurant is called the Hôtel de France and it will have two Michelin stars. He is a great figure in French gastronomy. In 1959, he decided to put on his menu a duck breast cooked like a piece of beef, so not overcooked. It was served, at the time, with a pepper sauce. This is the first time that this piece has been valued.

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Afterwards, all the other chefs will say to themselves that there is an interesting texture with a real good taste. Duck breast will then become a real noble item, in the 1970s and 1980s. This fashion will stop because in the 1990s, we see a lot of poor quality breasts arriving with un-force-fed ducks in the South. West, but in other eastern countries.

The stages of cooking duck breast

1. We will streak it very finely. With a knife, we will mark a small line every two millimeters and then we will cross. This will allow the heat to enter the flesh.

2. We always start cooking on the skin side, in a very hot pan.

3. We’ll let the meat start to cook. The fat will melt, the heat will rise.

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4. We will cook for 5 to 6 minutes.

5. We’re going to turn it over, but really 30 seconds, just enough time to grab it. Much of the fat has melted.

6. This fat is recovered, it is filtered, it is recovered, it is left to cool. It can be used to sauté potatoes.

But duck breast is not just pan-fried: it is a delicious meat to eat raw, in carpaccio or in tartare, for example.

Asian-style duck breast tartare

Ingredients for two people:

– 1 duck breast
– 1 tsp of ginger in brunoise
– 2 tbsp chopped coriander
– 4 tbsp of soy sauce
– 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
– 2 tbsp of rice vinegar
– 1 lime zest
– 1 dash of rapeseed or peanut oil

The steps of the recipe:

1. Remove the fat from the duck breast (keep it to fry potatoes)

2. Cut the duck breast with a knife into small pieces 2 mm apart

3. Mix all ingredients

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