How to cook filet de canard

Tonight I overcame a fear of mine. I learned to cook a filet de canard, or a duck breast.

  1. First, you take the duck and criss-cross the fatty, skin side with a 1/8 inch deep cut, about every inch or so. I used a Swiss Army knife, but any will do. Then place the duck with the fatty side down into a cold poêle, and turn the heat to its lowest setting.
  2. Here you let it render for about 30 minutes. Melt the fat slowly. When the fat is rendered and you see a light brown crust, remove it from the poêle and turn up the heat to medium high.
  3. Now brown the fatty side a bit more, flip it and cook the lean side for about 2-3 minutes, no more.
  4. Take it off the heat, drain all the fat off. Add 2 tablesppons of water, and deglaze. Now add 1 tablespoon of apple cider and about 1 and a half tablespoons of jam made from mure (blackberry) and simmer until they form a thick syrup.
  5. Slice the duck at a 45 degree angle to the chopping board. You should see a pink center, with well-cooked top and an almost white bottom.
  6. Arrange the slices on the plate, drizzle the blackberry sauce over it, and serve with a side dish made from 2 leeks and a carrot sauteed with butter and a little créme fraiche.

For a while now I have thought that duck cooking was way out of my league. I have only eaten duck a few times, and have only seen it for sale at American grocery stores occasionally. So when I wanted to make my wife a special Parisian dinner tonight (we're in Paris) I thought coquilles St. Jacques (scallops)? Or maybe brochettes d'agneau (lamb shish kebabs)? But when I saw the prices on the scallops I decided that the lamb would be good. Then I realized we don't have anything resembling a grill, so that left me with beef. After scanning the board for cuts of beef, I realized that I have no clue when it comes to French cuts of beef. The only cut that I recognized, "filet," was way too dear, and I saw nothing close to "hanger steak." Then I saw the duck section.

Magret de canard? Filet de canard? Aiguillettes de canard? Tornades? I chose the Filet because it looked like the right size for two. Later I researched this a bit, and learned that Magret de canard is filet from a foie gras duck. Aiguillettes are made from filet, I think.

If you want to try cooking a duck yourself, take a look at this video:

Comments (2)

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