Ingredients Jump to Instructions ↓

  1. 2 boneless Moulard duck breast halves (magrets) , about 1 to 1 1/4 pounds each Freshly ground pepper 2 pounds coarse salt: rock, pickling, or kosher 4 egg whites Shallot Vinaigrette (page 177)

Instructions Jump to Ingredients ↑

  1. Pat the duck breasts dry with paper towels. Place the duck breasts skin side up on a cutting surface. Score the skin of the breasts in a crosshatch pattern at 1-inch intervals with a sharp, thin-bladed knife. Do not cut through to flesh. Season the breast with pepper. Heat a large, heavy skillet over moderately high heat, and quickly brown the skin side of each breast. Remove the duck, drain on paper towels, and let cool completely. (To make a simple sauce, degrease and reserve juices.) Preheat oven to 425°F. Slap the 2 breasts together, flesh to flesh, and tie together with string. Combine the salt and egg whites, mixing with your hands until the salt is like damp sand. Make a layer of salt about ½ inch deep in the bottom of an oiled disposable loaf or cake pan. Place the tied duck breasts on the salt and spoon the remaining salt around sides and over the top of duck to enclose completely. Press firmly to seal the duck in the salt. Roast for exactly 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Crack open the salt shell and remove the duck. Wipe off as much salt as possible with paper towels Allow to cool completely before carving crosswise on a sharp diagonal into wide, thin slices. Arrange the slices on a platter, overlapping. Season with pepper and drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the duck. Pass the remaining sauce on the side. This method works equally well for duck legs: Press the legs and thighs together in pairs, flesh side in; tie loosely with string and roast for 1¼ hours. Serve the duck with a sauce made from the skillet juices or serve it alone, slightly warm, with just a sprinkling of coarsely ground pepper and accompanied in fall with a serving of Ragout of Forest Mushrooms (pages 335–336). What to do with all those egg yolks? Make a Crème Anglaise (pages 380–381) without bay leaves to serve over fresh berries or the Prune and Armagnac Ice Cream (pages 397–398), which has the illusion of seeming very rich in cream but is made mostly with milk.


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