Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Duck breasts & another problematic dessert

Having now cooked my first duck breasts, which were meaty and succulent, I don't want to ever roast another whole duck, which inevitably emerges from the oven gray and desiccated. Is there a recipe or technique out there that I'm missing? Should I just give up on roasted duck?

The Moro duck breasts with pomegranate molasses looked like steak, but were more tender and, in my opinion, more delicious. They were also dead easy. As Sam and Sam Clark might say. You sear the meat in a cast iron skillet, pop it into a very hot oven for 15 minutes, then make a quick pan sauce with a splash of water and some pomegranate molasses. If you haven't tried pomegranate molasses, it's inexpensive, keeps like ketchup, sells at Whole Foods (at least in this town), and tastes like very tart jam. Try it!

For dessert: rosewater and cardamom ice cream.
Moro: "This ice cream is not to everyone's liking, but those who appreciate the exotic, heavenly scent of rosewater will adore it."
I do appreciate that exotic, heavenly scent, but did not adore this ice cream, which was thin and insufficiently sweet. Not exactly bad, but nothing any of us needed to eat ever again, or even just the next day. The desserts in Moro have been a disappointment. In fact, this was the biggest hit yet. The churros & chocolate were a fiasco, the Malaga raisin ice cream was inedible, and the walnut, lemon and cardamom cake moved almost directly from oven to chicken coop. Odd, since almost everything else from this book has been wonderful.

Tonight: a Moro sardine or mackerel recipe, if I can find sardines or mackerel. Otherwise: Tortilla Espanola. Whatever I end up cooking will be served with the reportedly amazing David Leite/Amanda Hesser milk mayonnaise, featured on food52.


  1. I don't know about duck, but we always cook our whole chickens and turkeys upside down for 3/4 of the cooking time. Turning them breast side up for the last bit, so the skin gets crispy. The breast meat gets basted, dark meat is not too wet and no other fussing with the bird. Except that turning over a 20lb turkey is a job for at least two people, or one person with two arms.

  2. I want to bear witness on the duck breasts. They were magnificent, and so was the one you sent me home with, though I ate it cold the next day.

  3. I usually cook duck breasts too but tore the whole duck recipe out of the most recent Bon Appetit. They prick it, score it and turn it three times. I don't know if they pray over it too but I plan to give it a try. Once.

  4. Hi, just wanted to tell you that I don't even like cooking, yet I still read all your posts because you are such a great writer!


  5. i have been shooting ducks all winter and have been too lazy to pick the whole things so have just been cutting out the breasts and freezing them. up until now, i had no real plan for what to do with them.
    now i do.
    what an interesting blog. i've never seen anything like it.
    i think you should sell hats and t-shirts. and you obviously need a chicken logo.

  6. Sorry, I reread my comment and I meant to say that when I turn these myself I always feel like I need four arms.

  7. I have forearms.

  8. Jennifer: check out Vietworldkitchen. Andrea posted two recipes back to back for whole duck; the second one looks especially appealing.


  9. • Smile is the shortest distance between two people.
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