Today I decided to make use of my canned duck confit since it’s expiring very soon. Also, I. Love. Duck. Any excuse to eat duck is a good excuse! I had it stashed away in my cupboard in anticipation of a “special occasion” and obviously forgot about it. But I was reminded of it when I had dinner at the Daily Kitchen in Kitsilano a few weeks ago. I had a duck confit salad, where they served delicate slices of duck on top of the salad, and it was delicious. But being me, I’m modifying their dish to include whole duck thighs.
I don’t know how easy it is to find cans of duck confit in North America, but I got mine from a European supermarket while I was traveling last year. And yes, I stuffed that huge 3lb can into my carry-on luggage and hauled it all the way back to Canada! That’s the extent of my love for duck. Especially duck confit. Because how could I say no to salted duck thighs poached and preserved in their own fat?! But if you can find it, it’s a super quick dinner.
Because the duck thighs are preserved in fat, A) they look disgusting (see photo), and B) you need to wipe off a lot of the excess fat before popping them in the oven. But since it’s hard to get all the fat off without tearing the meat off the bone, I usually buy some bread to stick under the duck so that it absorbs all the melted fat while it’s cooking. When it’s done, you’re left with duck thighs atop crispy duck-fat fried bread! But I forgot to buy some today and that was a big mistake. Because not only is the fried bread amazing, the bread helps to keep the fat from pooling in the baking tray and smoking. My smoke alarm went off without the bread and caused me to frantically wave a kitchen towel around and open all the windows. So lesson learned! Don’t forget the bread!! I also shamelessly poured all that fat into a jar and stuck it in the fridge, just in case I decide to fry something in duck fat sometime in the near future… Bake the duck thighs at about 350C for 15min (just enough to heat them since they’re not raw) and then broil until the skin is brown and crispy, and you’re done!
As for the salad, you can cook the mushrooms while the duck is baking. I got plain button mushrooms, but you can use whichever mushroom you like. Cook them in a dollop of butter and some salt until soft. I like to toss my greens with the dressing first, and then add all the stuff to my salad because I find that if you toss everything with the dressing, all the goodies fall to the bottom of the salad bowl. The dressing I used is the one I make all the time i.e. chopped garlic, mustard, honey, balsamic vinaigrette, olive oil, salt pepper. Then add the cooked mushrooms, sliced cherry tomatoes, blackberries, and I added some blueberries too. I usually add avocado to my salads but because the duck is so fatty, I decided to omit it. And that’s it!!!