Duck Confit with Black Rice, Mizuna & Savory Cherry Compote

My last spring Lucques menu! Yes I know it's summer now but I just had to get one more in there. Duck confit has been on my list of dishes to make for a very long time now. It sounds hard though, doesn't it? Confit. Yip, sounds very hard. The Lucques recipe pairs duck confit with a savory cherry compote. How could I resist?

Upon reading the recipe and trying to get a mental to-do, I realized duck confit is so easy to make! Why had I put it off for so long? Never having tasted it was one but just fear of messing up this southwest France meat preservation method was the other. But this recipe is definitely a keeper, especially with the savory fruit compote.

A meat confit (usually geese, duck or pork) is when a meat is salted and cooked in its own fat in low heat. When the meat has finished cooking it can be stored up to a few months covered it its own fat which acts as a seal. Stuff like tomato confit and tuna confit will require the use of olive oil instead of animal fat.

In the same Lucques menu there is also a starter of white asparagus, ramps and morels with polenta. The use of cherries for the duck confit is a spring highlight but the starter would really emphasize the seasonality of this menu. So check!, added that to grocery list also.

The duck and cherries were easy to find but white asparagus, ramps and morels were nowhere to be seen. In fact, most of the farmer's market vendors I asked about ramps didn't even know what they were. Wish I rememebered that it was also called "wild leeks" so they could at least tell me where I might be able to find it or if it was already gone for the season.

Even before I went shopping I was pretty sure white asparagus would be out of my reach. But morels? I was optimistic since they are still being served at AOC. But nope, the mushroom vendor said morels were already out. Spring 2006 has been pretty much non-existent so I guess my expectations were a little bit too high, especially a few days into an already pretty hot summer.

Arg. So what's a girl to do? I mean, this is supposed to be a spring menu right?Well, I had to suck it up and just do my best. Here is what I served...


I started the meal with an impromptu salad with romaine hearts, crispy Neuske's bacon, goat cheese, and pea shoots with a simple dijon vinaigrette. For a salad that was put together last minute with stuff in the fridge it was pretty good, refreshing and pretty at the same time. I think a little more bacon wouldn't have hurt. But when does having more bacon ever hurt? God, I love bacon.


Next up was the revised polenta dish. I made a super soft polenta but rebelling against the instructions in the cookbook. I swear the total amount of time in the recipe was over 2 hours or something! I'm not that crazy. I made mine in 20 minutes and and it was completely delicious. Topped it with a more humble grouping of vegetables and mushroom with green asparagus, spring onion and cremini mushrooms. Still springy I believe. If I had a readily useable grill I would have added grilled leeks. The polenta was super fluffy, light and perfect with the vegetables and mushroom.


Then finally, duck confit. My goodness, my whole house smelled like deliciousness! Especially with some black rice and savory cherry compote simmering away on the stove. The recipe instructs to take the duck legs out of the oil when it's done and fire it away for 10 minutes or so in a very hot oven to make the skin crispy. Brilliant!

The duck leg meat was so tender, falling off with just a gentle pressure of the fork. I was gnawing on the bone to get every little bit of carmelized skin off. The briny black rice was a nice complement to the rich flavor of the duck and the sweet and savory cherry compote brought everything together. Just imagine that - briny, , nutty, sweet, savory, earthy. Crispy, tender, creamy. Brilliant!

Yumm, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

But now I must say goodbye to spring and jump in head-in into the summer menus. So many different dishes caught my eye already while I was browsing through the book. I'll be more on top of things this time though. No slacking off and procrastinating until the last month of summer! Lest I wish to face the doom of unavailable produce again.


justinsloe said...

that was the best duck I've ever had

and for the polenta - I think I saw someone lick their plate

yoony said...

hello duck lover. i wish to have the duck confit again very very soon. i think maybe taking all the meat off and piling it up on top of some crisped up yukon hash would be crazy good. then topping that with the crisped up onions from the confit oil. then topping that with roquefort. what you think?

yoony said...

and oh yes, topping that with spicy candied bacon lardons. hehe.

Grant said...

Okay, so when can I come over for dinner. I've been wanting to try confit. I was actually at Lucques last night for dessert - sweet corn panna cotta with blackberry sorbet and pine nuts. Heaven. Suzanne Goin was making her rounds. I wanted to go over and hug her but thought that might be wierd. And as for your love of bacon, have you been to Lou on Vine? They have pig candy - home made bacon cured with brown sugar. It's sweet and spicy. Amazing.

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Everything looks beautiful- especially your "impromptu" salad!! I'm also looking forward to making the summer recipes- especially the soft-shelled crab dish. Keep posting your Lucques supppers- I can't wait to see more.

yoony said...

hi grant,

the sweet corn panna cotta sounds AMAZING! seriously i would have never put those things together. which makes sense why suzanne is a super chef and i am a lowly cook that just obsesses over her book. :)

yes LOU is awesome place. i went straight over there upon reading about pig candy in J.Gold's little column thing. i keep telling myself i'm going to make it at home. especially bc i think if the bacon pieces were lardons instead of little thin slices, my mouth will cry of happiness.

hi tokyoastrogirl,

thanks for the compliments! yes summer is finally here but there are way too many delicious sounding recipes in the lucques cookbook. i am wildly attracted to the soft shelled crab (especially with the grilled cornbread!) but i feel an itching to make the pork burgers w/chorizo and bacon first. she loves pork and i love pork. :)

rick james said...

where the hell do you buy duck?

i guess there's this psychological barrier to buying duck, for americans... let alone, preparing the sucka..

obviously you're way beyond the barrier yoony!! supastar!!!!

whats next? deer? ferrets?

J said...

hi yoony, i'm really thrilled to visit - a fellow lucques fanatic! this is awesome...the menu looks perfect

yoony said...

hi rick james! hehe, definitely ferrets next. :) i got the duck legs at a poultry shop. whole foods should have it too i think.

hi j! thanks for stopping by. soon suzanne's recipes will take over blogosphere! i can't wait to see more posts from you for lucques recipes. you should be the photographer for the next book. :)

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Yay for Yoony. Hope you had a great break. Hey how was that kimchi pizza on saturday??? I hope to see photos b/c im really curious about it.

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