I am not sure, how much you know about the Czech Republic and ducks. Well, I can tell you one thing! We usually don’t mess around with it and we just stick the whole thing it in the oven. Which is fine, I guess. But on the other hand, each part of a duck is suitable for different cooking technique: legs are perfect for confits or roasting and breasts should be prepared a la minute.
For 2 portions
2 duck breasts
1 red bell pepper
20 g brown sugar
1 salanova lettuce
a few perilla leaves
30 g honey
30 ml soy sauce (kikkoman)
50 g butter
5 g five spice
some basil blooms and leaves
salt and pepper
a bit of chilli or Sriracha
Slice the bell pepper and get rid of the seeds. Blend until smooth with a hand blender and strain it into a pot. Try to squeeze out all the liquid, as we need to boil it down to half, to make sure the flavor really stands out! Add the agar (1 g per 100 ml of liquid) and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
Agar is actually a vegetarian version of gelatin, which is derived from seaweed. In this recipe I use it to thicken the bell peppers and make a fantastic chili purée.
Season the purée with salt and add some chilli – this time I used Sriracha, but you can choose whichever you like. Pour it into a container and put in the fridge to chill. Finally, blend the chilled purée again until smooth and fill it in a dispensing bottle. Keep it at room temperature.
Put the duck breasts on a plate and stick them in the freezer for a moment. The skin will become firm and it will be much easier to cut, as you want a nice grid, so that the skin is crunchy and you really enjoy it! It just sucks if the skin is soggy and soft and unfortunately it happens pretty often..even in restaurants.
Season the duck with salt and pepper. I also love to add some five spice, I think it works beautifully with duck. Put the breasts on a warm pan skin down and fry until golden (turn the temperature up to maximum).
Pour the fat from the pan aside (you can save it for other recipes or use it for a final touch) and add the honey, butter and soy sauce to the pan. Turn the breasts to the other side and keep on pouring them over with the liquid. Basically you glaze it with the liquid. At the end of the cook pour all the glaze on the duck and let it rest. Ideally, the meat should rest for the same amount of time as it was cooking (for medium 4-6 minutes on skin, then 3 minutes of glazing). Before serving, you just need to reheat the meat and voila!
Rinse the endive with water and cut it in half, so that it stays together (the middle part will hold it). Season the cut part lightly with salt: it will release water in a moment. Stick it in brown sugar and put it in a hot pan. When it starts to get golden on the edges, add some butter and let it melt. This is a great way to work with bitter veggies, as this technique gives them nice sweetness.
And we are almost there, yey! Slice the duck and arrange the endive, salad, perilla and basil leaves on a plate. Don’t forget to add the purée and some duck fat (as much as you like, but I am trying to keep it healthy). Enjoy!