Duck breast is one of my favorite things to cook because it requires your full attention. You can learn so much about cooking simply by cooking duck breasts. Fat renders from solid to liquid under high heat and leaves you with a crisp skin and juicy meat. I recommend using a meat thermometer until you feel confident. This dish reminds me of the crispy duck salads I ate outside of Bangkok. My son is allergic to peanuts so we opted for cashews and it turned out amazing!
- 2-4 duck breasts
- Crispy shallots
- Handful of arugula
- Cashew sauce:
- 1/2 cup cashew butter
- 1/3 cup minced ginger
- 1/4 cup minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp ghee
- 1/2 Tbsp Long- Tail Sunset
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- Quick pickled cucumbers and onions:
- 2 japanese cucumbers, cut in half moons
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- Score and season duck breasts with salt the day before and leave to dry on a rack fitted tray uncovered, in the refrigerator.
- Mix all of the ingredients for the quick pickled cucumbers and onions and set aside.
- To make the cashew sauce, heat a sauce pot over medium heat and add the ghee
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant and beginning to caramelize, about 5 minutes.
- Add Long-tail Sunset and stir to combine.
- Add cashew butter, rice vinegar, fish sauce, and soy sauce and mix until smooth, set aside.
- Put 2-3 duck breasts skin side down in a cold skillet and turn the heat up to medium high.
- Put another small pot or cooking weight on top of the breasts to keep the skin in contact with the pan as the fat renders out.
- Cook the breasts slowly, pouring the extra fat into a bowl as it renders.
- Play with the heat so it is a slow sizzle and not too fast, until most of the fast is rendered out of the skin about 10 minutes. Keep pouring the fat into the bowl as it renders.
- Add the duck fat back to the pan and turn the heat to high and crisp up the skin for about 3 minutes.
- Flip the duck over on to the meat side and lower the heat back down to low heat. Baste with the duck fat and keep them moving for about 2-3 more minutes depending on their size. You can take temperature, 128- 130 is medium rare.
- Let the duck rest 5-10 minutes before slicing.
- Plate duck over a bed of arugula with the cashew sauce and the cucumber/ onion pickles.
- Sprinkle with crispy shallots and enjoy.
Things to remember
- Duck beast takes patience and practice to cook perfectly but it is worth it when you get it down! The key is to season ahead of time and let it dry uncovered overnight. There is a lot of fat in duck skin which is why I like to score it to help render the fat. Starting it in a cold pan lets the fat melt away before crisping it up to early and leaving the fat chewy. The goal is a thin layer of crispy fat.
- Cook the duck 80% skin side and finish the last 20% meat side down. The skin helps insulate the meat.
- These quick pickles are great on anything and everything! I eat them with Mediterranean food and even tacos!