Quack, quack!

Guess what’s on the menu tonight! That’s right…..DUCK! As usual, we overcomplicated what should have been a clean and simple meal, duck breasts with scallion pancakes. Something like what you would expect to get at P.F. Changs. But noooooo just had to take it to that next level. The first question our chef had for us after I butchered the duck, so what are you going to do with the legs? We honestly didn’t even plan on using the legs. So he offers to share his bain marie full of duck fat so that we can “confit” our duck legs. This means cook them in their own fat. See the lovely globs of fat below (still in their solid form).


Once we got that boiling on the stove, my partner got started on the Scallion pancakes and ginger dipping sauce. We stole a food network recipe (found here) with a few adjustments. First of all, when measuring out flour, in school we are taught to weigh out dry products because 1 cup does not equal 8 ounces. So we had to adjust a little for that. Not sure about using a food processor to make this relatively simple dough, I would be safe and do it by hand. Usually the more you mess with the dough, the harder the final product ends up (which is not a good thing). Also, I have no idea how much oil mixture was intended to be brushed onto the pancake, but we only did enough to coat the one side. Dumping that whole 1/2 cup of oil would be a definite mistake. And finally, I’m pretty sure she means roll like a jelly roll because sponge cake is usually flat.

As for the Ginger Dipping Sauce, we added a little minced garlic to it to give it a little more depth. We used this sauce to marinate the duck breast slices for about an hour or so. After that, we sauted the duck breasts (tried to cook them to medium rare, I’m pretty sure I failed and ate raw duck). When the duck breasts were done (or thought to be), we removed them from the heat and added the rest of the ginger sauce to the pan. Once boiling, a cornstarch slurry can be used to thicken the sauce.

And then for the extra step. Shredded the meat off the duck confit legs and tossed them in a cilantro lime sauce*, this would be the meat base for the spring rolls. In addition to this, there were sauted shitake mushrooms, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and sugar snap peas and raw (for a little crunch) bean spouts, shredded carrot, and green onions. Using the paper thin spring roll wrappers, which are traditionally served cold, and all these ingredients, these were little parcels of heaven. As I was rolling them, they were getting picked up off the sheet tray and eaten. This is now the third time in a row where my afterthought type of dish ended up being more successful than the dish I planned on doing. Partner plated it all up as seen below with some of that yummy, spicy, sriracha sauce.


Cilantro Lime Dressing

Ingredients:

  • Handful of cilantro, stems removed
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (preferably fresh)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup oil (90/10 soybean/olive mix is my favorite)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Add cilantro leaves (no stems), garlic, lime juice to a food processor. Blitz until garlic and cilantro chopped up. With the food processor going, add the oils. Season with salt to taste.

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