In our village of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, there is a French style cafe with lots of potential. I believe the owner a) lived a number of years in France, b) is married to a French man, c) is actually French or all or some of the above. I’ve forgotten.
Anyway, our one visit there was memorable because of the $15 we paid for what amounted to half of a thinly sliced, Long Island duck breast sandwich with a few no name brand potato chips as garnish. The two swallows of sandwich that we had were good but certainly not of the quality of a magret breast from Barbary ducks that have been forced fed. In addition, we waited a long time in a nearly empty cafe and had to get our drinks from an ugly refrigerator unit next to the counter. And the fatal straw? No wine :/
Last week I ordered some American cut spareribs from Jacques, thinking of making a batch with an Asian like glaze. I decided to make some Chinese plum sauce. The recipe requires both apricots that are in season and plums that are not. I substituted a bag of soft, dried plums, stoned.
The sauce is not at it’s peak for 1-2 weeks but it’s still usable and good tasting as I demonstrated by using it for my Barbery, magret duck breast the day after I made it ;) I left the sauce chunky for the duck breast but when I make the rib glaze, I’ll probably food process it smooth.
Originally, I had planned to accompany the duck with some Asian noodles but this morning Nico sent me some home made taboule with plump, juicy, golden raisins. Yum :D
I like my duck breast rare; crisped fat, completely hot inside. If you want yours cooked longer, cook it longer :) Inspiration for the plum sauce comes from here.
Magret de Canard with Plum Sauce
1/4 cup fresh ginger, chopped
1 small onion, sliced thin
1 mild, long, green chilli (for babies), seeded and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
4 tsp salt
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 lb bag of soft dried plums, stoned
1 lb fresh apricots, halved and stoned
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup water
1 duck breast, fat side scored and seasoned with salt and pepper
Weeks ahead of time, make the plum sauce, or at least the day before. Put together in a bowl the ginger, onion, chilli, garlic, salt, mustard seeds and cinnamon stick. Set aside.
Put 1 cup of the cider vinegar, sugars and lemon juice in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside
In another sauce pan, bring to a boil the plums, apricots, the remaining cider vinegar, the water and the balsamic vinegar. Simmer for 15 minutes, then add the sugar mixture and the bowl of seasonings (ginger etc.), bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes.
Cool and store in jars. Refrigerate.
Sear the duck breast in a hot skillet for 6 minutes fat side down, turn, lower the flame a bit and continue to cook for 9 minutes. Remove the breast and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes before slicing. Serve on a good slice of bread with roquette and plum sauce.