This recipe was just sent to me by one of my many few readers. I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks good, and a bit different. This is a rustic style that is very well suited to the bold flavors of duck.
PETIT SALÉ DE CANETTE
Brine-Cured Duck with French Green Lentils
The recipe below is based on a dish made by Claude Udron, a partner in the restaurant Chez Philippe, in Marseillan, south of Montpellier. Udron is from Rennes, in Normandy, and this is a contemporary version of the duck he used to eat on his grandparents’ farm.
¾ pound kosher salt
(about 2 1/3 cups)
2 quarts cold water
6 bay leaves
12 fresh thyme sprigs or
½ teaspoon dried thyme,
8 fresh flat-leafed parsley sprigs
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
a 5- to 6-pound fresh
White Pekin duck,
2 medium carrots
1 medium onion
1 whole clove
2 medium leeks (white parts only)
1 bay leaf
1 fresh thyme sprig
3 fresh flat-leafed parsley sprigs
a 6-inch square of cheesecloth
1 tablespoon rendered duck fat
or olive oil
Make a brine: In a 4-quart kettle combine brine ingredients and bring to a simmer, covered. Simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, until salt is just dissolved and remove pan from heat. Cool to room temperature.
With poultry shears or a sharp knife cut off wing tips and, if necessary, backbone of duck and discard. Trim excess fat from duck pieces, reserving it for rendered duck fat, if desired. In a large saucepan combine duck and brine. Marinate duck, covered and chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
Cut carrots into 2-inch pieces. Halve onion and stud 1 half with clove. Trim shallots. Chop leeks. Wrap herbs in cheesecloth and tie into a bundle with kitchen string. Remove duck from brine and discard brine. Rinse duck well under cold running water and with a fork pierce skin all over to allow fat to drain. In cleaned large saucepan combine duck with vegetables and cheesecloth bundle. Add enough water to cover duck by 1 inch and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Simmer duck, uncovered, adding more water as necessary to keep duck immersed, 1 ¾ to 1 hours or until tender.
Remove duck from liquid and discard liquid, vegetables and cheesecloth bundle. Pat dry duck and cool completely. Duck may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and cooled completely before being chilled, covered. Bring duck to room temperature before proceeding.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet heat 1 tablespoon fat or oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown duck skin sides down (use caution; duck will splatter), until golden about 3 minutes. Turn duck and cook 1 minute more. (Alternatively, broil duck, skin sides up, in a shallow roasting pay about 4 inches from heat until golden brown.) Let duck stand 10 minutes.
Transfer duck to a platter and with a slotted spoon arrange lentil around it.
Serves 4 generously.