Duck Confit

One of my favorite bistro lunches is the duck confit salad. This consists of an amazingly slow cooked duck leg cooked in duck fat. The origins are a little vague but the essence is that in order to preserve the duck for a long winter it would be first preserved in salt and spices then cooked for a long time then stored in the fat. Since the advent of refrigeration there has been no reason to continue this tradition other than taste, but what a good reason indeed. There have been several short cut ways and I have tried a few. This one is the most successful and happens to also be the easiest.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 Duck Legs
  • Bunch of Fresh Thyme
  • 6-8 Garlic Cloves, sliced
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground or Fresh Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Pepper
  • Lots of Kosher Salt
  • Olive Oil

Tools

  • Chef’s Knife
  • Small Bowl
  • Heavy Aluminum Foil
  • Sauté Pan
  1. Pre Heat oven to 225.
  2. Lay out one piece of aluminum foil about 18″ long.
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil in the center and spread it around with your fingers.
  4. Lay out a bed of 5 or 6 sprigs of thyme. Rosemary is nice too.
  5. Sprinkle about a third of the garlic.
  6. Place the duck legs skin side down over the thyme, arranging them tightly together.
  7. Salt and salt the top side.
  8. Mix the ginger, nutmeg, cloves and pepper together in a small bowl.
  9. Sprinkle it evenly over the ducks.
  10. Spread the rest of the garlic around then another 5-6 sprigs of thyme. A bay leaf or two is also nice.
  11. Fold the foil lengthwise then like a package.
  12. Spread another piece of slightly longer foil out.
  13. Turn the package over and place it in the center of the new foil.
  14. Wrap it up the same way.
  15. Repeat this with two more pieces, turning over each time.
  16. Stick that in the oven and cook for 2 1/2 hours.
  17. Remove and let cool on the stove top.
  18. Refrigerate over night.
  19. Remove about about half hour before cooking.
  20. Take the outer layers of foil off, leaving the last layer.
  21. Carefully cut the solid side of the last layer of foil off. Do not cut into the duck.
  22. Warm a sauté pan.
  23. Remove the excess thyme and garlic. Place the duck skin side down and cook to warm and crisp the skin, about 20 minutes.
  24. Serve over a bed of fressee or other hearty leaf. Optionally, a few roasted new potatoes is also nice.
  25. After all that I will leave the dressing up to you. I’ll have mine plain or with a tiny bit of really good balsamic.
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