Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reprise--Salad for Dinner with Duck Confit

Hi all. I posted this recipe last year, but have now done it again with MUCH better pics (after taking some food photo classes). Hope you enjoy!

Salad for Dinner with Duck Confit
Before you run for the hills – this can be super easy and a simple mid-week tasty, elegant and quick meal.  Of course you could make it more time consuming with an authentic gourmet approach and make the duck confit from scratch. But, it is available in so many places and so delicious that for the quick mid-week meal, I recommend just using store or restaurant purchased duck confit.  
Duck confit, like bacon, mixes beautifully with bitter greens – feel free to grab your favorite greens – add the crunch of sliced almonds, olives and light garlic vinaigrette. Sublime!  For that final optional touch – throw a poached egg on top. Eggs are the perfect food…truly a gastronomic miracle…with its ready-made sauce of creamy richness. I add a poached or fried egg to many dishes to give it that extra oomph.

Ingredients (for four)
  • ½ C sliced almonds                                       
  • 1 C pitted oil-cured olives – not too strong
  • 4 legs duck confit                                           
  • ½ C roughly chopped roasted red peppers
  • 2 med heads frisee, cleaned & chopped       
  • Roasted Garlic vinaigrette (below)
  • Watercress, Pea Shoots or Mache (3 C)            
  • Kosher Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • ½ C chopped Romaine or other firm greens  
  • 4 Eggs (optional)
  • 2-3 Tb white vinegar

First step: toast the almonds. This can, of course, be done well in advance – pop them on sheet, put into a 350 degree F oven for 4-6 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove and allow them to cool.
Untoasted almonds 
Toasted almonds
Pull the skin and obvious fat off the 4 duck confit legs – in large pieces if possible.  Pull the meat from the legs and shred it. Heat a nonstick pan over LOW heat.  Add the skin and fat – cook slowly – should take 25-30 minutes, flipping a few times, in order to render the fat and brown the skin…keep the heat low or it will burn. Once done, set the skin aside – save the rendered duck fat for another day. (I freeze it – and use a little occasionally with a variety of vegetables – great flavor!) Add the shredded duck meat to the same pan and gently warm for a few minutes while making the salad.
Duck confit leg
Fried duck skin
Shredded duck
Fill a saucepan with 6-8” water, bring to a bowl. Add 2-3 Tb white vinegar to the boiling water and reduce heat to a gentle simmer while getting the salad ready. Put frisee, watercress or mache and other greens in a large salad bowl. Drizzle enough Garlic Vinaigrette around the sides of the bowl. Then, gently, lift the greens to coat in dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add chopped red peppers, olives and most of the almonds. (Reserve a handful). Toss gently to combine.
Frisee....almost looks like a flower!
Pea shoots
The greens mixed together to show the proportions
Now for the egg! Break one egg into a small bowl or ramekin. Using a wooden spoon, stir the simmering water at the edge of the saucepan to create a whirlpool. Drop egg into the middle of the whirlpool. Start your timer. In 2 minutes gently remove your poached egg with a slotted spoon. Quickly drop the spoon into a bowl of ice water for a few seconds to stop the cooking. Remove and place the egg on a bed of paper towels to soak up excess water. Remove any remaining eggs whites from the water before adding subsequent eggs. Repeat for each one, allowing the water to resume the simmer. Create the whirlpool before each addition.

Arrange half the salad on a platter or distribute onto dinner plates. Top with about half the warm duck confit. Layer with the remaining greens and duck. Sprinkle the salad with reserved almonds and chopped fried duck skins. Finally, add the poached egg to the middle and serve immediately.
Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette:  Whisk together ¼ C champagne vinegar with 1 ½ Tb roasted garlic puree. While whisking, slowly add ¾ C extra virgin olive oil. This will make about twice more than is needed but can be refrigerated in a closed container for up to two weeks for use on other salads.

I began with a recipe from “Ad Hoc at Home” – the fabulous cookbook by Thomas Keller and have modified...different types of lettuce, poached egg, and a few other odds and ends. This might appear daunting at first, but once you get the duck confit and review your timing – it truly is an easy mid-week meal. I hope you will give it a go – it is a spectacular and scrumptious meal. 


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