Sunday, August 1, 2010

Salad of Frisée with Duck Confit

I like this salad because it's elegant and versatile. The combo of frisee, poached egg, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, and a warm champagne vinaigrette can be a hearty first course or a satisfying lunch. Plus, it tastes like it should be much harder to make than it is! Anyone can whip it together, even in a pinch.

But this dish really excels when paired with a confit of duck leg. The combination of the tender and salty confit with bitter frisee and acidic cherry tomatoes is rich and fresh. Sweetness from the potatoes and poached egg mediates the flavors. Put simply, it's traditional, decadent, and delicious.

Serves four. Prep time, approx. 25 min.

2-4 Heads of frisee
Approx. 12 Cherry tomatoes
2 Yukon gold potatoes
1 Poached egg per serving

1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoons Canola oil
1 tablespoon Some type of fat or oil. If you're making the duck confit, use the fat left on the pan. Otherwise, you can substitute for rendered bacon fat. If neither is available, extra virgin olive oil will do.

Duck leg:
Leg of duck confit. I'l write up a recipe in the coming weeks.

For the salad, wash, dry, and remove all those unappetizing outer leaves. Chop off the bottom. Slice the cherry tomatoes. Cook the potatoes in boiling water with 1/4 cup of kosher salt until fork-tender. Peel and slice.

You can poach the egg conventionally, or cook it sous vide at 63 degrees centigrade for one hour. Cooking the egg sous vide is by no means necessary and requires at least an hour or forethought. It does, however, give the egg a fabulous texture that can't easily be achieved any other way. Garnish with fleur de sel or sel gris and pepper.

First, cook the duck legs skin-side down in duck fat to grease the pan for about a minute over high heat. Then lower the heat to medium or medium-low for three minutes. Then finish it off in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minuets.

Use some leftover duck fat from the pan for your dressing. If this is unavailable, rendered bacon fat will do just as well. As a last resort, you can use extra virgin olive oil. Mix together vinegar, mustard, oil, fat and salt and pepper to taste. Simple!

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