Some people make a big story of cooking duck. It is quite simple, actually, especially with a minimum of preparation. It has the other advantage to be open to an infinite array of variations!
The pic above was for one person. As I cooked it for both of us, just imagine that there was another identical plate.
Here is how I proceded:
Ingredients: 1 large duck breast (can be ordered easily over the Internet)
Olive oil 3 tablespoons
Whisky 3 “caps” (I use the bottle cap)
Port wine (or any sweeet red wine) half a cup (100cc)
Cold butter 2 large tablespoons
Salt and pepper to taste
6 small potatoes cut in “wedges”
1 large tablespoon of olive oil
Half a cup (100cc) of green “flageolet” beans (fine green beans)
1 tablespoon of baby onions (frozen ar fine)
1 rasher of bacon cut to the size of your largest nail (LOL)
Salt, pepper, thyme to taste (careful with the salt as I mixed the veg with a little gravy from the duck!)
Fine greens (small leaves: you can buy them already mixed and packed
Dressing of your choice (easy on it, or it will spill onto the duck!)
1) Take skin off duck breast and discard. For people who cannot without it, make shallow incisions all over it, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, brush it lightly and fry it skin facing down for 80% of the cooking time!)
2) sponge off humidity with kitchen paper towel and put it aside.
3) Boil potatoes to about “80% cooked” (their core should be still solid), cool immediately under cold water, peel and cut in wedges (not stiks of fries!)
4) In small deep pan fry bacon with no oil until the pieces are crispy. Put aside on small plate. Don’t wash the pan. Pour in half a cup (100cc) of water and boil beans. When beans are ready, there should be little water left. Mix in thawed baby onions and bacon. Do Not season yet.
Keep of fire and cover
5) Now you will work with two frypans at the same time. Be careful and keep in mind that if the oil becomes too hot, it might ignite, so keep a large towel handy (last time I almost started a fire. Luckily I had the reflex to cover the frypan with the towel. The fire extinguished immediately. NEVER try to extinguish with water as it will explode in your face!).
On your right (unless you are left-handed), pour the oil for the fried potatoes. It does need to be too hot. Throw potatoes in and let fry, shaking them around from time to time. Fry them until they are golden (use a non-stick pan and the results will delight you!)
On your left, heat the oil for the duck. It needs to be quite hot. Place duck breast in middle. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over it according to your preference. Fry both sides for 30 seconds. Turn down the fire to medium and carefully pour in the whisky (not cap by cap but with a small glass you would have filled before hand). Let the whisky ignite and shake the duck breast around until the flames have extinguished. Lower the fire a bit more and cover with lid.
How do you know the duck is cooked. When you press it with a finger, it should pop back easily with a little gravy/juice seeping out. Experience helping your eyes will be enough to judge when the time is right. Do not worry if you find out that some of the middle of the duck breast does not seem cooked enough. Some people like it well cooked while others like it rare. You can always choose the slices according to taste. Purist like it almost raw in its centre, though.
When the breast is cooked, put it on a cutting board. You will cut it at the llast minute.
6) Add some of the gravy to the beans and reheat to your preference.
7) On two large plates decorate the top third with greens (see pic above). You will add the dressing on top just before serving.
8) pour the Port wine into the frying pan and stir it with the gravy. reduce it on small fire.
9) The fried potatoes should be ready by now. While the sauce is reducing, place the potatoes side by side in half a circle. As you will place the duck slices over it, there is no need to season them.
9) Once the gravy has reduced enough, mix in the cold butter until smooth. it will prevent the sauce from “separating). Taste and season it if needed.
10) Cut the duck breast into thin slices and place them side by side on top of the fried potatoes (see pic)
11) With a tablespoon, place beans like on the pic.
12) Pour gravy onto the duck slices.
13) Sprinkle greens with dressing and serve.
If you are a wine fan, serve this dish with a full bodied red.
Variations: I add some some finely cut parsley and basil to the beans at the last time. some finely cut thin leeks sprinkled over the duck slices look good. You can add some red colour with thinly cut tomatoes on both sides of or around the beans.
Here is another presentation: Potato Gratin in the middle and onions confit on the sides.
I made the sauce lighter for this particular one!
Another one again!
The potato wedges were cooked separately as well as the eringe mushroms slices in the middle with cauliflower first boiled, then sauteed.