Roast Duck with Glazed French Fancy Figs and Crushed Kumara

2:14 am on 1 April 2008

(Serves 4)

This is a new dish on our menu which makes use of the fantastic, but short local fig season. It plays on the classic affiliation of duck and figs. So far back that historians say the fist duck and geese that made fois gras were fed in figs 3000 years ago in Egypt.

The recipe below is a simplified version of the one we serve in the restaurant. In the restaurant: we get in whole ducks, separate the legs and breasts, trim all the excess skin from them, trim all skin and fat from the carcass, render the fat from the trimmings, we salt the legs for a day with herbs and garlic then confit them for three hours in the strained duck fat, cool then pick all the meat from the legs and mix with a little carrot, rosemary, thyme and shallot sweated in some duck fat.

Next we wrap little parcels of this meat in brik pastry. We then use the carcasses to make a stock, which in turn is made into subtle, lavender infused sauce.

This is served with the duck dish below with the addition of our own blueberry mustard which adds great colour and another layer of flavour (and no doubt a headache to our wine matcher!!!).

Ingredients

  • 4 female duck breasts or 2 male duck breasts
  • 12 figs cut in half length ways
  • 1 tblsp honey (we use Pohutukawa honey with this dish)
  • 2 medium golden kumara
  • white wine vinegar

Method

Put the whole, unpeeled kumara into a sauce pan and cover with cold water. Add a tablespoon of salt and bring to the boil.

After 10 minutes of cooking add 2 tblsp of white wine vinegar (the acid helps to stop the discolouration of the kumara). Cook the kumara until soft in the middle and drain.

When cool enough to handle: peel, season with salt and pepper and crush roughly. Keep warm.

Meanwhile heat a thick bottomed frying pan on a medium to high heat.

Score the skin side of the duck breast at 1cm intervals with a sharp knife and season the flesh side with salt and pepper.

Fry the duck breasts, skin side down without oil. As the fat heats up it will melt and produce its’ own coking fat, you can pour any excess fat out the pan as it cooks for a more healthy version.

Cook the duck skin side down until the skin is golden brown and crispy then flip over the duck breast and cook for one minute on the flesh side for rare, two minutes for medium rare.

Take the duck breast out of the pan and leave to rest for 5 minutes in a warm place. Resting lets the temperature of the meat even out through the whole breast preventing an over cooked outside and raw interior.

Pour out most of the fat from the pan leaving a little left. Heat this over a medium high heat and put in the figs cut side down. Colour the figs for a couple of minutes until they start to caramelise, then add the honey. Let the honey melt and bubble up then shake the pan to let the honey coat all the figs. Take off the heat.

To Serve

Put the kumara in the centre of preheated plates and place the duck breast on top, surround with the glazed figs (be careful of the hot honey), then spoon round the honey/fig/duck juices from the pan.

John Hawkesby’s wine suggestion

Pinot Noir

Julicher 1999 Rows' Pinot 2006

St. Clair Family Estate 2007

Churton 2006

Bordeaux variety

Karikari Estate Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec 2005

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