He Likes Duck Fat
Potatoes fried in duck fat, with garlic & parsley, a very fresh green salad (with not a leaf of lettuce in sight) topped with a little bit of duck breast – a perfect lunch for this blessedly rainy Sunday.
Obviously, he thought so too (and had an intense lemon tart with coffee for dessert).
This meal is characteristic of improvised cooking; you know, cooking without a recipe based on what you’ve got. We had a breast of duck left from a roast and duck fat just rendered from that same roast, and potatoes, of course. That calls for potatoes in duck fat, reminiscent of Pommes de Terre à la Sarladaise, a dish named after the town of Sarlat in Southwest France. While one variations on this homey dish includes truffles, the poor woman’s version (mine) makes do with garlic. Don’t knock it off until you’ve tried it: duck fat makes the best fried potatoes. As far as the green salad, it was a mix of mache, sorrel, baby red Russian kale & Tuscan kale, and frisée endive, fresh from the garden. Any good-quality store bought mesclun will do; make sure it’s on the robust side so it can take the hot dressing, and with a hint of bitterness or tartness to stand up to the richness of the potatoes.
End of Winter Salad with Duck Breast & Potatoes in Duck Fat
Lunch for two
- 2 handful of mixed salad greens per person
- 1 to 3 Tablespoons duck fat
- 2 large potatoes, scrubbed clean, and sliced thinly
- 1 roasted duck breast, with skin on
- 2 cloves of garlic, degermed and finely minced
- parsley (at least 6 sprigs – more to taste), finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Arrange the greens on two plates, leaving some room on the sides for the potatoes.
- In a cast iron pan, melt 1 T duck fat over medium hight heat, add the potatoes and cook until golden brown at the bottom- 5 minutes or so. Turn, careful not to break the slices, so that the uncooked slices are now at the bottom. Do this several time, preventing the potatoes from burning – maybe 20 minutes – adding more fat if necessary. The inside of the potatoes should be soft, and the outside crispy. Turn the heat off, add the garlic and the parsley, turn carefully and leave in the pan while finishing to assemble the salad. Don’t put the garlic any earlier or it will burn.
- Meanwhile – about 10 minutes after you started the potatoes, heat up another small cast iron skillet, and add the duck breast, skin down. Cook until lightly charred, turn over and cook a few more minutes until just warmed through. Transfer to a cutting board, slice and arrange the sliced breast on the greens. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar and water, scraping to get the attached bits. Add the oil. Whisk and pour on top of the duck and greens.
- Add the potatoes to each plate.
- Tuck in.
Note for the locavore log: the greens. I wish I could say the duck was local, but while it was bought from the E-Cow, it came from Indiana. If any of my readers know of a Virginia (Northern, Piedmont or Central) source for ducks, please post it in the comment section