Saturday, December 02, 2006

Duck Fat Dinner

I did not leave Paris empty handed.

At our friends' place on my last evening in town, the mommy-to-be slipped me a hefty can of duck confit, to my great delight. Tonight I opened it up and made a meal designed to remind us of our little European sojourn.

Inside the can was one big ol' breast suspended in thick, milky white duck fat, not a drop of which will go to waste. Using our pals' Paris home cooking as my inspiration, I attempted something akin to a quick deconstructed cassoulet. I bought a nice French garlic sausage at the nearby luxury-consumables megastore Wine Library, which I sliced and browned and served with white beans cooked in duck fat. I also sautéed potatoes in duck fat and dressed them with parsley when they were done.

And I crisped up the duck skin by cooking the breast fatty side down in a pan, with a little... you guessed it... duck fat (it didn't take much -- that sucker was self-basting). I'd never before brought a duck into our home, so this part was big fun. It sizzled and sputtered and got all nice and brown. When we eventually cut into it, a perfectly brittle crust gave way to the silky richness of the fat beneath and, finally, to the dark and tender meat itself. Margy, normally monolingual, spoke a few happy words in French.

And now the rest of the fat is sitting in a container in the fridge, biding its time until we need it again. It won't be long.

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