If you read the title of this post and wrinkled your nose, then bear with me. If you've had duck in the past and didn't enjoy it...maybe it wasn't the "right" kind of duck. If someone shot it down over a pond, chances are it tasted a little fishy or gamey. The kind of duck I'm talking about is the farm-raised White Pekin duck. Believe it or not, flavor and quality varies between the breeds of farm-raised duck as well. The White Pekin produces a tender, mild meat that adapts to a wide range of flavor profiles and cuisines. I happened to grow up very near to the country's leading duck producer, Maple Leaf Farms. While most families were having their Easter ham, we went to my grandparents for duck on the grill. We don't just eat duck on holidays, either. My mom sometimes served it for a middle-of-the-week dinner. That's just what I'm doing for today's meal plan menu. Thursday night duck, wild rice, and asparagus. My mouth waters just typing those words. Lucky me, two packages of marinated duck breast showed up in my freezer the last time my family visited (Thanks!).
Here is the package of duck breast, after defrosting in my refrigerator. I think this is Cajun flavored or Chipoltle. Unfortunately it wasn't labelled. It did have a little "kick" whatever the flavor.
Let me start by providing the link an instructional "How to Cook a Duck Breast" clip. If you're wondering where to purchase duck breast, check your local grocery store or you can check the Maple Leaf Farms website to see if they offer products near you. I swear, I'm not on the payroll, I just enjoy their products.
So here we go. If you watched the video, you know that it is important to score the fat. Here is my interpretation of that step.
Now, I put the duck into my skillet, on medium-low heat and cook for about 15 minutes. No need to put any oil in there, as it cooks, the duck creates enough fat so that it will not stick. If you've tried duck that was greasy, chances are that it was not prepared correctly. Trust me, there was nothing greasy about this duck breast after it was prepared. Juicy, but not greasy.
While the duck is cooking, I put the wild rice mix on the stove and clean the asparagus. Just wash, cut off the woody part of the stem and any scales, and set aside.
When the skin of the duck breast is a little crisp and a deep golden brown, flip them over and pan sear for a few minutes.
Let's finish them up in a 400 degree oven. Mine were in the oven about 6 minutes and I temperature checked them with my meat thermometer at 160 degrees.
While the duck is finishing in the oven, toss the asparagus into enough lightly salted, boiling water to steam. Cover the pot. Cook for 4-6 minutes until tender-crisp and remove from heat.
I remove the skin before eating. Here's the first bite. If you're new to duck and you expect that it might taste like chicken, that would be an incorrect assumption. In my opinion, it does not taste like chicken at all. The closest thing that I can compare it to is steak. A good steak.