Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Duck Confit with Asparagus and Mixed Greens

When you're trying to watch your calories, this probably isn't the first meal you should choose, it's high in calories and in fat, but if you don't eat it on a daily basis, it's a flavourful, tender and rich treat. Lucky for me, I burned a lot of calories today and this was my thank you to me. I'm not the smartest person on the block when it comes to meal preparation. Probably because my cooking skills are limited. I knew that confit was the method of preparation for the duck but I didn't exactly know what that entailed, until tonight. Duck confit is duck legs and thigh bone (not the breast) that were cooked on very low heat with the skin on and submerged in the duck's own fat for approximately 10 hours (give or take 6 hours). Once it cools, you can store it for as long as two years! That was very surprising. The duck fat preserves it but at the same time continues to flavour and tenderize the meat. Lovely isn't it? When it's ready to be served, it's removed from the fat and reheated on the stove-top to crisp the skin. Our duck tonight was just that, crisp on the outside and insanely moist and succulent on the inside. The skin literally melted in your mouth. If you could fry butter to a crisp, add a delicious smokey flavour to it and then let it dissolve in your mouth, that would be my best description of it. Duck fat actually looks quite similar to butter when it's cold and tastes slightly smokey like bacon fat. The good news? It's lower in cholesterol and is a good source of vitamin E. The meat is also a good source of protein and iron. My husband cooked this to perfection tonight, and thanks to the Chelsea Smokehouse, the long, tedious prep was done for us. He also served it with some asparagus and a mixed green salad. I swear most days I feel we eat like royalty.