The Quack Salad

My family is food obsessed. My brother Ern, my mum and I are the ones who actually get behind the stove and attempt to make the food but my dad and other brother, Alvin are obsessed about eating really good food. It might be a Malaysian thing, this obsession with food. I don’t know a single Malaysian who isn’t constantly promoting some great food find to their friends. There may be much to critique about Malaysia but good food is not one of them. We have amazing food here.

So it is little surprise that my mother watches the Asian Food Channel and Travel & Living channel almost exclusively on the TV in her bedroom. We both particularly enjoy watching Chef’s Story. I had no idea they had it on DVD; I might have to get myself a copy soon.

One of our favourite chefs is Anthony Bourdain (who can resist that quick wit and bad boy charm?) and we grew roots watching him on Chef’s Story. When he made his Duck Confit with Frisee Salad, we watched hungrily, rapidly swallowing the saliva that was starting to pool in our mouths.

“We have to try that one of these days!” my mum had said to me.

That was months ago. Although we’re a food obsessed bunch, we’re also a procrastinating lot. Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? My mum had reminded me that she had bought duck about two weeks ago. Last week I finally got around to making the salad, but not of my own accord. She had merely said, “I thawed out the duck, go make the salad.” Ma’am, yes, ma’am!

I printed out the recipe and I quickly noted that I would not be able to confit the duck because a) I didn’t have any rendered duck fat and b) I wanted to eat it for dinner and it was already 5 p.m. – no way would I have time to make a confit anything.

So here’s my speedy version of Bourdain’s way fancier (and probably tastier) Duck Confit Salad.

Sophia’s Hurried Pan Roasted Duck Salad
(Serves 4)

1 bag pre-packed salad leaves (this way I don’t have to wash any leaves and dry them – I believe I used the Caesar bag here)
Quarter-half a duck (no idea, my mum had them chopped and handed to me) – seasoned with sea salt and black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Heat up oven-safe pan until very hot. Place duck pieces on pan and brown all sides to seal in the juice. I didn’t use any oil, it was rather fun watching the oil ooze out of the duck. Turn off fire.
3. I removed the leaves off 3 sprigs of thyme and scattered it around the pan, then placed a sprig on each piece of duck. I then spread out about 4 cloves of smashed garlic.
4. Pop the entire pan into the oven for… well this is a good question. I just checked for doneness, didn’t keep track of the time. Just until it’s cooked. Oh boy. I told you this isn’t a food blog, I cannot be trusted to offer precise recipes!
5. Remove from oven and let sit in pan for 10-15 minutes.
6. Slice duck thinly – well not very in my case cos I am pretty bad at carving any type of meat.
7. Place salad leaves on plates, top with duck slices. Spoon up the yummy, runny duck fat that’s in the pan and drizzle all over the salad leaves.
8. Garnish with the thyme sprigs (now wonderfully dried and crinkled looking) and garlic cloves.
9. Impress and enjoy.

It was an intensely enjoyable salad, and my mother claimed it was her favourite salad ever.

I will one day attempt the duck confit, though. I looooove duck confit. But really, who doesn’t?


One Comment on “The Quack Salad”

  1. aNn says:

    I look forward to more recipes like this! Gosh i feel like running to the market tomorrow to get some duck! :)