Tasty dish for duckPublished 12:00am Saturday, March 1, 2014
Duck hunting in Louisiana is probably the best in the country. Since we live close to Louisiana we have many friends that duck hunt, but until this year no one gave us any ducks. I was thrilled when one of our friends gave me four ducks which his grandson had killed—-two mallards and two teal.
Ducks gravitate to Louisiana because of the endless coast marshes which provide an ideal habitat. Many stay for the winter, while others continue on south to Mexico. It is not easy hunting, I hear, since they have smartened up by the time they get to us. The blue-winged teal is the first to arrive and it is a really small duck but fine eating. The main duck season begins in November and lasts about 60 days. Among the other species to come are the gadwell, mallard, green-winged teal, pintail, wigeon, mottled duck, shoveler, resident wood duck, and lesser scaup. You don’t need to pull off the fat since it is fine in gumbo and for roasting.
My new issue of ‘Garden and Gun’ had a recipe for duck breasts and suggested using mallards. I had two of these and also went ahead and used the teal also. The recipe was easy and it turned out to be delicious. So if you get some ducks try this instead of gumbo!
Cast-Iron Seared Duck Breasts with Orange-Ginger Marmalade
February/March 2014 Issue of ‘Garden and Gun’
6 skin-on breasts from 3 wild ducks, preferably larger ducks such as mallards, blacks, or pintails
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp. honey
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
5 Tbsp. duck fat or peanut oil
Clean duck breasts of any excess feathers and be sure to check for any hidden birdshot. Combine duck breasts, rosemary, garlic, milk, and honey, and let sit overnight. Drain; pat dry with paper towels, and season liberally with salt and black pepper. Heat cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and add duck or peanut oil. Once the skillet is hot, add duck breasts, skin side down. Sear about 2 to 3 minutes, or until skin is crispy, then flip and continue cooking for about 5 to 7 minutes, basting the breasts with fat. Cook them to an internal temperature of 130 to 135 degrees, then place on a cutting board and let rest for several minutes.
Slice duck breasts thinly and place each slice on a piece of grilled sourdough (recipe below). Drizzle with orange-ginger marmalade (recipe follows).
4 oz. sweet orange-marmalade
1/8 cup water
¼ cup orange juice
1 knob fresh ginger, peeled and minced
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Combine marmalade, water, orange juice, and ginger in a small saucepan. Heat gently over low heat for 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper, then swirl in butter and hold warm.
1 loaf quality sourdough
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Cut loaf in half lengthwise, and then slice each half into thin pieces and coat with olive oil. Grill or toast lightly.