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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.
- 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 http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Po%C3%AAle_(cuisine), and turn the heat to its lowest setting.
- 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.
- Now brown the fatty side a bit more, flip it and cook the lean side for about 2-3 minutes, no more.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: http://www.750g.com/article.26.934.2309.htm