Serious Eats: Recipes

Sous-Vide 101: Duck Breast

This recipe requires the use of a sous-vide cooker or the beer cooler hack.

As a meat that is best served medium rare, duck breast makes an ideal candidate to cook sous-vide. By cooking it at 135°F for two hours, much of the fat under the skin begins to soften and render out while the proteins in it begin to set, making it easier to crisp without shrinking on the stovetop just before serving.

The thickness of the skin means that you can also crisp it more gently post sous-viding, unlike a steak which requires blazing high heat to cut back on cooking time and prevent the interior from overcooking. The skin acts as an insulator, preventing the meat inside from taking on any more color. The result is supremely tender, evenly cooked meat with super crisp skin.

For best results, I like to let the breasts sit uncovered in the fridge at least overnight to allow some moisture to evaporate and concentrate its duckiness. Isn't that just ducky?

Duck goes great with a sprinkle of fried shallots and Sichuan pepper, as I've done here. Extra fried shallots can be stored in a sealed container for up to one month. Make sure they're completely cool before sealing them, or they will soften.

Fruity sauces and some steamed greens round out the dish. Try the lingonberry jam from IKEA. It's splendid.

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