I am a touch hesitant about posting this recipe because the eating of duck appears to be a fairly eccentric activity in Bethesda. One friend labeled me as ‘so European’ when I ordered it. This was a fairly accurate observation but none-the-less it made me uncomfortably aware of my strangeness. That said, I am posting it here because it is very delicious. I think I first conjured it up in Amsterdam as a quick way to get a Peking Duck fix, without waving a hair dryer at the thing for several days. The orange was an afterthought.
It is also incredibly simple and quick to make and thanks to a son who shackles himself to my leg whilst I cook, I recently rediscovered it. I now intend to establish it as “Menu number one”. I have a friend in London who gave a supper for me. Her brother-in-law arrived, peered into a pot and said “Aha.. Menu Number One”. I asked what he meant. Apparently Menu Number One is known in the family to reliably consist of: home-made ham, baked potatoes, asparagus and salad. I asked what Menu Number Two was, but so far no one has seen any reason to stray that far. Her Menu Number One was served on Limoges plates, sadly mine reclines on Ikea 365+.
For 2 people: 1 duck breast, 2 tbs Hoisin, 1 orange
– Score the fat of the duck breast diagonally at roughly 1″ intervals
– Salt and pepper the meat side
– Heat a heavy pan to a good medium heat
– Place the duck breast in the pan, fat side down
– The fat will begin to render and then brown and start to crisp
– Once this has happened and you have about ½ the original duck fat on the breast, turn it over and start to cook it on the meat side for 3-4 mins – not too long or it will be overcooked.
– Remove the duck from the pan. Check if it is cooked to your liking. If it is still a bit too rare for you, don’t worry it will carry on cooking plus you can toss it into the sauce for 30 seconds at the end.
– Get about 1 ½ – 2 tbsp of Hoisin sauce and stir it into the fat juices, until they begin to meld and sizzle together
– Add the zest of half an orange
– Add about half a glass of orange juice from the orange , stir for about a minute and remove from the heat. The more sauce the better… so don’t let it evaporate.
-Slice the duck thinly and either return it to the pan for a final toss or put it on a serving dish and pour the sauce over it.
D’Artignan Duck breast is sold at Superfresh. Superfresh is a wierd place. Not only do you discover people crossing the DC border to surrepticiously top up their wine supplies before a snow storm and inevitable power cut, but you also find wild boar and bison. Superfresh deserves more credit than it gets – they had truffle oil before Whole Foods had cottoned on to it. Their latest addition is the Italian butter from Parma called “Delitia”. Find it stashed away in their cheese section