January 4, 2010

Umeboshi Duck With Persimmon

I think duck legs have to be one of the greatest bargains around. Eight bucks or so will buy you four delectable pieces of ducky heaven that keep on giving: you can render some of the fat for later use (potatoes fried in duck fat are one of life’s truly great pleasures), you get four wonderful entrees, and you can make a meaty, smoky stock with the bones. My method: place them in a large claypot or other earthen vessel and gently roast in a low-heat (275) oven for about 30 minutes, to render the fat. Pour it off into a clean jar for later use — you should get quite a bit (at least a small jam jar’s worth).

Heavily season with salt and pepper, put them back in the oven, and turn up the heat to 350, where they will roast for another 30 to 40 minutes. Check to see how brown they are; they may need a little more time. They should look pretty well done, with some visible separation of meat and bone. And finally, crank it way up to 45o for as long as it takes (typically 10 to 15 minutes) to get the skin supercrisp and well-browned, near black. During this last stage, pit and finely chop a few umeboshi, and smear it on the duck when it’s finally done. The piquancy of the umeboshi played against the superrich fat of the duck is one of the world’s greatest combos.

I thought about serving the legs with rice, but then, the giant pile of fuyu persimmon caught my eye: what if I just chopped up the persimmon in lieu of the rice? Some of the fat from the duck would drizzle down into the fruit, making the perfect dressing! It was lovely, served with some pickled fennel,  superkraut, and avocado.

Does anyone else cook duck legs? If so, how?

More Category: Breakfast Recipe