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Duck…. Duck…. Duckkkkkkkk…. TACO!

November 18, 2009

In a parallel universe, this is a detailed description of the Duck Breast in Fig Sauce that just came out in this month’s Food & Wine magazine. It would’ve been tasty, and I would’ve triumphed over my sad aversion to figs. Instead, I went to the market yesterday without my post-it note shopping list. Er go, I had no idea what to pick up for the fig sauce. Er go, I had to improvise. And duck tacos were born.

The plan was simple – get to Wegman’s and back with general taco ingredients (+ something for lunch) in an hour, then find a recipe that would work with my ingredients. Not all that hard, but I was a little shocked at how few duck taco recipes I could find (and even less for duck burritos). For shame, people. So I grabbed a few recipes, copy and pasted them into my gmail folder for fodder and inspiration, and got down to it.

The below is loosely inspired from a handful of sources.


Serves 2
1 duck breast (1/2 duck breast per person)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Anaheim pepper (for medium heat), roughly sliced with seeds removed.
1 large red onion,sliced thin
1 tsp lime juice
2 cloves garlic, chopped rough
1 small tomato, chopped rough
pinch of cayenne
1/4 cup corn (optional)
1 tblsp mole paste (optional)

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced roughly
3/4 cup Lime Crema – (sour cream, lime juice, lime zest, cilantro and chili powder)
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
4 flour tortillas

Sprinkle 1 tsp of kosher salt  into the duck breasts, place them in the fridge while you make the rest of your taco accessories.

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, add 2 tblsp of olive oil, coating the bottom of the pan. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic and sauté until the onions are just starting to caramelize, about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, cayenne, and corn (optional). Cover and continue to cook about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peppers and tomatoes are tender. Remove and tent with foil to allow to cool slightly.

Now is a good time to pit and chop up your avocado, and prepare your lime crema, which is the to-taste combination of  sour cream, lime juice, lime zest, cilantro and remaining chili powder mixed all together. In a pinch, you can skip the cilantro and the chili powder. It’ll still be uber refreshing.

Right before cooking, rub some mole paste onto the duck breasts. Place the duck breasts, skin side down, into a cold, cast-iron skillet (or at least a non-stick skillet, if your cast-iron isn’t around). Turn the heat to medium-high and cook the duck about 10 minutes, or until the skin is golden-brown and crispy, and the fat has mostly rendered off.

Just be careful that your duck doesn’t burn – adjust heat as necessary so that it cooks evenly. Turn the duck over and cook for 1 minute to cook the meat to medium-rare; otherwise, continue cooking until desired doneness is achieved.

Remove the breasts to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice very thinly on the diagonal.

On the still hot skillet, add a bit of olive oil over medium heat, and warm your tortillas for about 1-5 seconds (seriously, it doesn’t take very long to warm these guys). We budgeted two per person. Place two to a plate and divide the sliced duck among the tortillas.

Spoon a tablespoon or so of the veggies over the duck and add your avocado slices and lime crema to taste. If we had cilantro or a good Mexican cheese in the house, I’d have sprinkle it on top, but that was not to be. What a hard life we lead, right? Serve immediately.

Also, an alternative to the lime crema is a really delicious Avocado Crema that I would be remiss not to mention since its so simple and so delicious. Just pureeing the avocados, sour cream and lime juice in a food processor. Then salt and pepper the crema to taste. Next, warm the tortillas on a hot griddle or in an iron cast skillet for about 5 – 1- seconds per side. Build the tacos by adding the meat mixture to a tortilla, then the shredded cheese and then top with the avocado creama.

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