Thanks to Chef David Wolfman and Marlene Finn for providing us this recipe from the award winning cookbook Cooking with the Wolfman: Indigenous Fusion. Try out the recipe on your own or stop by HomeFest presented by Booking.com to see Chef Wolfman prepare this duck breast dish as well as taste test it too.
Duck Lake, Saskatchewan, a famous battleground where the Métis fought the Canadian government at the start of the 1885 North-West Rebellion, was named for the large number of ducks that used to migrate through this area in early spring and late fall. The Cree in Saskatchewan, who called Duck Lake See-Seep-Sakayegan, traditionally cooked duck over a fire or in soups. Duck hunting is still common among Indigenous people even today, particularly for those living in the north of Canada where store- bought foods are extremely expensive.
Duck breast has a lot of fat in it, which gives it such nice flavour that you don’t need to oil the pan before cooking it, and the texture of the skin is lovely after it’s been crisped up in the frying pan and served with pan drippings. Here is an extremely simple way to prepare duck breasts. Consider serving this with the Fiddleheads and Carrots in Sesame Birch Sauce recipe (page 227).
2 duck breasts (1 lb/500 g in total)
1 tsp (5 mL) Vanilla Salt (see recipe, page 22) or kosher salt, divided
1⁄2 tsp (2.5 mL) ground black pepper, divided
2 Tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup
2 Tbsp (30 mL) red wine vinegar
2 minced cloves of garlic
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1. Using a sharp knife, score the duck skin by making a couple of incisions about 1⁄2 inch (1.5 cm) deep in a crisscross pattern, but do not cut down into the flesh.
2. Season the skin side of the breasts with half the Vanilla Salt and half the pepper, rubbing it in. Set aside for five minutes. Turn the breasts over and repeat on the flesh side using the remaining salt and pepper. Set aside for five minutes.
3. Whisk together the maple syrup, red wine vinegar and garlic, and pour the mixture over the duck, coating it.
4 Allow the duck to marinate for 30 minutes to one hour in the fridge in a nonreactive dish (ceramic, glass or stainless steel).
5. Drain duck, and discard marinade.
6. Place the duck breasts in a cold cast iron frying pan, skin side down. Turn heat to medium and brown the meat without turning it (about three minutes). Increase the heat to medium-high and continue cooking without turning the meat.
7. After three more minutes, turn the breasts over, skin side up, and cook for two more minutes.
8. Turn the breasts over again, skin side down, and bake duck in the same pan for 10 minutes in the oven. I would serve the duck at 155F (70C), but you could wait until it reaches the temperature Health Canada recommends, 165F (75C).
9. Remove the duck from the pan and set aside on a cutting board with a little foil on top to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.
10. Slice and garnish duck with pan drippings and chopped parsley if using.
From the book Cooking with the Wolfman: Indigenous Fusion, by Chef David Wolfman and Marlene Finn, © 2017. Published by Douglas & McIntyre. Reprinted with permission of the publisher.
If looking for a substitution for duck, Chef Wolfman has this suggestion:
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