I can’t resist a bargain. It’s worse than that, I crave them and I look for them. I adore them. Whether it’s clothes, shoes, bedding, a gorgeous tiny swimsuit for my niece, or food and wine, I have to have them. My Irish Catholic sensibilities love the food bargains in the supermarkets born of food that’s nearing it’s sell before date. Not only am I getting a bargain, I am also preventing food waste! Hooray. Of course I know that’s not true, but I’ll tell myself anything to justify the purchase.
Mostly it’s just greed and want. I am not proud of that. It’s always good stuff, mind, and I just can’t resist.
This is how I found myself with 2 free range English duck breasts last Sunday. I wondered what I would do with them. Duck is fantastic meat. Frequently roasted, it’s even better fried until just pink. Tasting light like it’s poultry friends, but with a depth expected from red meat, it straddles both and makes a perfect robust Sunday supper.
Duck partners beautifully with fruits like plums, and is complemented by spices like star anise and Chinese five spice. Savoury additions like soy sauce work nicely, and the texture and sweetness of honey paired with it, make a lovely sauce. Now, believe me when I say that this dish was random, and haphazard. That from conception to devour, there was no more than 30 minutes.
I couldn’t find my star anise (where the hell is it gone?), so I used only five spice, and I am glad I did, as it befriended but didn’t overpower that lovely duck flavour. I made a very simple sauce with soy sauce and honey as above, 2:1. I served it with potatoes as I wanted them, it’s not a natural choice for this, most would go with noodles. I had brought some local delicious potatoes back with me the last time I visited home and wanted to have these. How very Irish of me. I chopped some spring onions up and tossed them with the boiled chopped potatoes, some rocket (any greenery will do) and some extra virgin olive oil.
Easy peasy and it was really delicious. It’s added to the repertoire. Next time, I might pair it with a Pinot Noir, and see how that goes.
2 duck breasts
vegetable oil or similar for frying
half tsp Chinese five spice
2 tbsp soy sauce
300g new potatoes, chopped into bite size chunks, skin on
a handful of rocket or similar
2 spring onions chopped, incl green bits
a glug of extra virgin olive oil, not too much, the duck/soy should dominate
Cook the potatoes until just soft, toss in extra virgin olive oil and add the rocket and spring onions just before serving.
Slash the skin of the duck breasts with a knife at about inch intervals horizontally. Rub the five spice into the skin.
Saute the duck breasts, skin side down over a low heat for about 8 minutes, until the fat renders out.
Pour out most of this fat, then turn up the heat and crisp the skin for a minute or so. You can always crisp it quickly under the grill when finished.
Turn the duck breasts, add the soy sauce and honey, and cook for a further 3-4 minutes over a medium heat. Take care not to overcook it, you want it to be pink.
Rest for 3-4 minutes, and serve on top of the potatoes, sliced with a drizzle of the sauce.
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