The duck breasts I bought for our toshikoshi soba came frozen solid in a large package, so there were plenty left to make another meal. This recipe came from Ms. Shimbo’s mother who prepared it for a special treat when she was growing up. This method of steaming the duck in broth makes the meat tender and juicy.
When I made this recipe in 2007 it was summer-time, and my daughter was visiting then too. She’s living in Madrid and has mentioned that much of Spanish home-cooking involves a lot of greasy, oily foods, so I have modified the recipe to avoid excess fatiness. Ducks really do have fat skin!
How to make Schmaltz and Grebenes: remove skin from chicken, goose, or duck, cut into small pieces, heat in a heavy skillet over very low heat to render out the fat. Some people start by adding a little water to the pan. Use the crunchy grebenes as a topping on vegetables, soups, or poultry. Use the fat to fry latkes, potatoes, or in chopped liver.
Steamed Duck Breast with Mustard-Miso Dressing
Mushigamo Karashi Sumiso-zoe
serves 3 to 4
- 2 medium duck breasts, about 12 ounces
- I removed the skin
- 1 cup dashi (fish stock)
- 1 cup sake (rice wine)
- 3 Tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons usukuchi shoyu (light-colored soy sauce)
- Karashi sumiso (mustard-vinegar-miso dressing)
- 1 negi (Japanese long onion) white part only,
or a generous amount of salad greens
Have ready a bamboo or metal steamer with plenty of water at high steam production. Also have a medium pot of simmering water.
Cut about half of the fat skin from the duck breasts. Make shallow checkerboard cuts in the remaining fat layer.
Heat a large skillet over moderately high heat. Add the duck breasts, fat side down and cook until the fat is brown. Turn, and cook until the meat is lightly browned. Plunge the browned duck into boiling water to remove excess fat. Quickly remove the duck from the water, and wipe it dry with a paper towel.
Note: I just browned the skinless breasts in some of the fat rendered from the skin.
In a small saucepan, combine the dashi, sake, mirin, salt, and suskuchi. Bring the mixture to a boil. Transfer to a heat-proof container that fits into your steamer. Add the duck breats, and cover it with plastic wrap. Place the container in the steamer and cook the duck over high heat for 10 minutes.
Remove the container from the steamer and the duck from the cooking liquid, reserving the liquid. Push a steel skewer through one end of the breasts and hang over a bowl for 10 minutes to drain off excess fat.
Return the duck to its cooking liquid, and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 5 to 12 hours.
If you’re using a long onion, cut it into 3-inch lengths, and then slice into thin strips. Soak the onion strips in ice water for 15 minutes to remove the sliminess and to make the onion crisp. Drain and squeeze dry with paper towel.
Remove the duck from the cooking liquid, and cut the meat into thin slices. Serve topped with the onion, or on a bed of greens. Offer the mustard-vinegar-miso dressing on the side.
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