Duck Recipes: Duck Confit With Frisee Salad

Duck Confit With Frisee Salad


For the confit
  • 4 duck legs, about 2 pounds total
  • 1/4 cup finely ground sea salt
  • 2 cups rendered duck fat, about 1 pound
  • 3 to 4 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 thyme sprigs
For the salad:
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 lightly packed cups washed and trimmed frisee
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cooking Procedures:
To make the confit:
  • It is important to keep the ingredients for this dish free from any contamination, therefore, work on a clean surface and keep the duck and duck fat free from any ingredients other than what you are using for this recipe.
  • Rub all sides of the duck legs with a generous amount of sea salt. Place in a shallow dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Melt the duck fat in a small saucepan over medium heat. Do not let it get too hot. Pat the duck legs dry on absorbent towels and arrange in a single layer in a baking dish.
  • Place the garlic and thyme between the duck legs. Pour the melted fat over. There should be enough fat to cover most of the duck.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat recedes from the end of the leg and is easily separated from the bone when pierced with the point of a small knife. Let rest until cool.
  • In the time it takes to cool, the duck will continue to cook so it is important to account for this when checking the doneness.
  • Once cool, cover with plastic wrap. At this point, the duck, sealed in the fat, can remain in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
To make the salad:
  • Carefully remove the duck legs from the fat. Pulling too hard may rip the meat, so a safer trick is to slightly melt the fat, then lift it out with a perforated spatula. Don't let it get too hot as the next step requires the duck to be cool.
  • To remove some of the bone, place the duck leg, skin side down, on the work surface. Gently hold the meat around the thigh bone to keep it from moving, while at the same time, with the fingers of your other hand, lift the thigh bone from the meat.
  • When it is separated from the meat, twist it to release from the leg bone. With the butt end of a heavy, old chef's knife or a cleaver, carefully chop away the knuckle at the end of the leg.
  • In a pan large enough to hold the duck in a single layer, heat about 2 tablespoons of the duck fat over medium heat. Carefully place the duck legs, skin side down, in the hot fat.
  • Let sizzle to crisp and color the skin, about 4 to 5 minutes. If it sticks to the pan, let it continue to cook. When the skin has crisped it will release. Adjust the heat as necessary to caramelize the skin to a dark and crispy golden brown.
  • Carefully transfer the duck to a plate. Pour any residual fat from the pan into a salad or mixing bowl.
  • Add the shallots to the pan and stir for 10 to 15 seconds. Take off the heat and add the vinegar.
  • Place back on the heat and reduce by half. Swirl in the olive oil, and then pour the finished dressing into the salad bowl. Toss the frisee in the dressing and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Place a mound of frisee on each of 4 serving plates. Lean the duck, skin side up, against the frisee. Serve immediately.

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