After a recent landmark event (which I should really make a post about), Louise and I visited a restaurant that we’ve always wanted to go to – Bin 941 on Davie Street. It’s a “small plates” restaurant serving a variety of excellent West Coast food – lamb, seafood, short ribs, steak etc. The duck that we ordered especially impressed me; I honestly think it’s one of the best things I’ve eaten in a restaurant, and when we got home and I checked out their website, I was excited to find that they’d actually posted the recipe!
Now, I’m not going to link to their recipe because after experimenting last night, it’s massively inaccurate. I’m not sure what planet the recipe writer inhabits where frying raw potatoes for two minutes gives you delicious hash browns, but it’s not the one that my kitchen sits on. So you get the benefit of my learning here!
One thing I’ll say about this recipe… when cooking at home I like to eat cheaply, and this ain’t that. I paid $20 for the duck breast, and truffle oil might as well be liquid gold for what they charge for it (and yes I’m aware of the whole argument raging for/against truffle oil in the first place. I love the flavour and know a lot of good chefs who use it so that’s the side I come down on). I think it’s almost cheaper to eat this at the restaurant, though of course they’ll get you on drinks! There’s also a cranberry-port sauce as part of this recipe but it’s time-intensive and involves yet more expensive ingredients so I just omitted it for reasons of time, finances and sanity. It’s just not possible to do it at a reasonable cost without the economy of scale provided by a restaurant. So if you’re looking for cheap eats… move along please
Ingredients: 1 large Mulard or Muscovy duck breast, skin on
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cut the duck breast in half across the middle, and cut a diamond pattern into the skin and fat without cutting into the meat itself.
Heat up a seasoned cast iron or oven-safe frying pan (with the tiniest amount of cooking spray in it) over a medium-hot burner. When it’s up to temperature, put the duck breast pieces in skin side down, and let it sear for 5 minutes or so (I actually would have liked my skin crispier so I’ll probably go for 6 or 7 minutes next time). Remove the duck, pour off the rendered fat into a pyrex or otherwise heatproof container, and add the duck back to the pan flesh side down. Sear for a minute, then flip it back to the skin side and put the whole pan in the oven. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until a thermometer says 125 degrees for medium rare, 135 for medium. Let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing once you’ve removed it from the oven.
Potato Pancetta Hash
Approx. 8 fingerling potatoes (nugget potatoes can be a substitute)
30g pancetta, diced
1.5 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into approx 4cm pieces
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
3-4 tbls white truffle oil
Half a head of frisee greens
Scrub the potatoes and add to a pan with cold water. Heat the pan until it boils, drop in some salt, turn the heat down to a good simmer and continue to boil for 10 minutes. Drain and dry when done, let them cool for 10-20 minutes then dice the potatoes into about 2cm wedges, about 12 per potato.
Add the reserved duck fat to another frying pan and heat until hot. Drop in the potatoes and diced pancetta and cook for around 5-6 minutes, until the potatoes are almost golden and crispy. Add the green beans, stir, and pour in 2-3 tablespoons of truffle oil, continuing to mix everything up as you do. After a minute or so of this turn off the heat; drop in the crumbled feta cheese and remove everything to a large bowl or plate lined with paper towels. Add the frisee greens, mix once more, finish with a little more truffle oil and serve.