Duck fat imparts a marvelous richness to everything from pan-fried potatoes to baked goods. Anything cooked with it just seems like a luxury, an indulgence. Whenever I visit my friend in Portland, Maine, we make a point of eating at a restaurant named for this luscious lipid. The menu is a paean to foods prepared with the eponymous ingredient, and we never fail to eat our fill of the excellent Belgian-style fries.
Cooking with duck fat can be daunting, but the effort is worthwhile. You can buy it from a specialty store or render your own at home. The first time I roasted a pair of whole ducks I was amazed by the amount of subcutaneous fat covering the breasts, which were truly well endowed.
You’ll need a large supply of duck fat to make Confit Duck Legs, a recipe calling for 35 ounces. Confit cookery requires that the duck be completely immersed in molten fat. When the dish cools the fat solidifies, preserving the flesh. This yields succulent duck with hints of garlic, nutmeg and thyme. The legs are great straight but best when crowning a cassoulet.
I’ve already described my affinity for duck-fat-plus-potatoes, and Pommes de Terre Sarladaise delivers my daily dose of this dynamic duo. Cook the potatoes until their edges are crisp and centers are tender.
To exhaust my duck fat deluge, I’m torn between Thyme Duck Fat Focaccia and Savory Duck Fat Doughnuts. The former is a perfect complement to cassoulet; the latter could serve as a sinful snack. Either way I suspect I can’t go wrong.
Have you tried cooking with duck fat?