The Gift


One of the best things about knowing Mike Brown is that sooner or later he’s going to order too much of something cool and you’ll be there to reap the benefits. Seems last week that he overbought duck breasts, duck proscuitto, and chicken feet. I passed on the latter, but was happy to grab the former on my way home Friday night.

Had planned on cooking a few burgers as was nearing 830, but couldn’t pass on the duck breasts. If you don’t normally cook duck, you are missing out. I am going to say it here and hope lightning doesn’t strike. Duck fat is even better than pork fat. Nothing happened. I guess the Big Guy agrees.

The skin is the key when cooking duck breasts. Betwixt the skin and the flesh lies an abundance of the succulent fat which must be rendered. The best method is to score the skin in a hatch pattern and render slowly in a heavy pan over medium heat spooning off excess fat as it renders. This takes about 20 minutes or so. To finish all you have to do is flip and cook 3 or 4 minutes more. Please don’t overcook the duck! It needs to be medium rare. Don’t worry, this isn’t chicken and definitely doesn’t taste like chicken.

For this duck, I finished on the flesh side in a 450 degree oven brushed with a glaze I made with honey, hoisin, and chili flakes. I served with some rices sweet potatoe and butter beans laced with the duck proscuitto.

Finger-licking good. Thanks Mike!

BTW: What do you do with the fat? Use a tablespoonful (or so) to saute your next batch of home fries or quartered new potatoes. Like me, you’ll thank Mike Brown…


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