Duck Sushi

This is something I came up with years ago, but haven’t made in a while. Since I found a couple of duck breasts in the freezer section of a nearby market that occasionally has them, I took it as a sign to make this dish again; it’s an excellent way to serve meat in warmer weather since it’s room temperature and not at all heavy. And there’s much fun to be had with sauces, given duck’s affinity for fruit of all kinds.

In this case, the rice was actually leftover asparagus, garlic scape, and pea risotto from the night before (lest you think that we only eat Asian food around here, which recent posts seem to indicate). Here’s proof:

That’s Espelette pepper on top, and the stock was made from raw chicken wing tips and gnawed cooked wing bones plus the trimmings off a tri-tip I used for two different meals last week. I beat in a goodly dollop of ricotta to finish it.

My foolproof technique for duck breast is to score the fat, salt both sides, then sear it on medium heat until the fat is a beautiful crispy brown and flip it over to the other side to finish. I cover the pan on low for a couple of minutes, then rest it, covered, for about 10 to get a perfectly pink interior. Don’t much about with putting the pan in the oven; it’s not necessary. Duck is better rare–especially for sushi, obviously–so err on that side. This is one slice in; it got deeper and darker towards the center.

For the sauce, I took the juices from the resting pan and melted in a couple of big spoons of Julia’s apple jelly with wine vinegar, black pepper, and cloves plus a glug of rum to thin the consistency a bit for easy brushing. Once all the meat was glistening and sticky with sauce, I sprinkled chives over them and dusted them with a bit of black truffle salt. I also cooked some kale in the rendered duck fat with onion, stock, and cider vinegar for a compelling side dish.

For wine, a 2010 Bernard Moreau Bourgogne did handsomely. This bottle was $15 with a case discount, and offered an excellent example of the aromas that make Burgundy so compelling to its fans. Somewhat characteristically for an inexpensive wine, the taste was out of joint with the smell; while the nose was rich and detailed, the flavor was a bit thin and austere. After some time, it fattened up, the red fruit darkening toward black, but it didn’t stay there long and had tired out by the end of the night. Another guest would have solved that problem. It’s not a wine that will get better if left open on your counter overnight, but it will give you a flirtatious whiff of what the fuss is all about and make excellent arm candy for any swanky duck sushi you might have on hand that needs an escort down the red carpet of your gullet.

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