— CNP

Magret de canard avec aubergine et cerise

Another one checked off the list. Duck. I’m definitely going to be at the Vic Markets buying up big when I get back. So rich, but so good. This recipe is complex and all over the place because I picked it up at a cooking class in Paris and I couldn’t be across all the components (eg the vegetable stock came from vegetables cooked as an accompaniment).

Serves 2-4 depending on size of duck breasts

2 duck breasts, fat on
1 large eggplant
vanilla olive oil
250g fresh yellow and black cherries, pipped and quartered
very small bunch of basil, leaves only
a good splash of white wine
a small splash of vegetable stock

Halve eggplant lengthways and then finely slice (< 5mm). Drizzle with vanilla-infused olive oil and cook in a steam oven until tender (obviously we don’t all have steam ovens like a professional kitchen, so I’ll try to find an improvised work-around; as for the infused olive oil, buy a vanilla bean, pop it in oil for maybe a fortnight and whammo!).

With a sharp knife, clean the duck breast of any blood or sinew. Trim the fat so that it fits the breast neatly, but keep the fat cuttings. Salt the meat side of the duck rather generously. In a hot pan, seal both sides of the duck until brown (fat side first; give the meat side 2-3 min). Put aside to rest.

In a separate pan, cook down the excess fat trimmings until you’ve got charred crispy bits and rendered fat. Strain this rendered fat into the rendered fat from the duck breast cooking. With the charred bits, add a good splash of white wine and reduce (we’re looking for crackling here). Then add the splash of vegetable stock to create an emulsion.

Meanwhile, pop the pitted cherries and basil leaves into a small pot and begin to cook. Strain the emulsion of stock and crackling into the pot. Add the juice that has drained from the resting duck breasts (add some of the rendered fat if you feel it needs it). Reduce it hardcore.

While that’s reducing, pop the duck breasts into the oven that’s previously housed the eggplant to bring them up a few temperature notches. After 5 minutes, take them out and slice them crossways.

Present by alternating the duck slices with eggplant slices and drizzling the cherry-basil-duck-fat sauce over the top. Bon appétit!