Quack, quack, quack

I ate duck often when living in France and have been missing it this winter. Farm-raised ducks are not easy to find in Colorado. I've never seen duck at King Soopers. Whole Foods has whole frozen ducks occasionally. Some local CSAs advertise duck eggs, but not meat. In Montpellier, fresh never-frozen duck was not cheap, but it was almost always available.


The green sausage is chicken, duck, and spinach. To the right: cuisses de canard (duck legs) and magret de canard (duck breast).

I never bought a whole duck, but bought a pair of duck legs or duck breasts, or some links of chicken, duck, and spinach sausage from a vendor at the Arceaux market almost every other Tuesday. She sold chicken, too, both raw and roasted in the rotisserie at the back of her stand. Her only non-poultry product was polenta, which is delicious fried in duck fat.


Magret de canard and foie gras

Duck breast is my favorite red meat and Florence Fabricant describes my favorite way to cook it in this recipe. Seared and then roasted gently in the oven until medium rare, if I had to choose a last meal, this would be it. The sweet and sour five-spice marinade and glaze is nice, but salt and pepper is really all a flavorful duck needs.


Magret de canard with homemade kimchi

Because I mostly worked from the house we rented in Montpellier, I could execute slow cooking recipes while pushing pixels on my computer. Duck legs confit, simmered for hours in their own fat and juices, are easy to do in parallel with other tasks and are extremely delicious.


Cuisses de canard that have spent a couple days wrapped up with spices

Confit is the past participle of the French verb confire, "to preserve." Before refrigeration, this was one of our options for preserving meat. Pork or duck, covered in steralized fat which keeps oxygen and microbes at bay, can keep stable and healthy for weeks. I never managed to keep any for longer than a day or two.


Lentilles vertes du Puy are my favorite side for cuisse de canard

I enjoy foie gras and have a picture of it above, but I don't know enough to write about it. Ruth and I developed a preference for foie gras mi-cuit (half-cooked), which is a gently cooked piece of a single whole liver, not reformed or "en bloc." I don't definitely know which are the best producers, but had a good experience buying vacuum packed mi-cuit foie gras from a couple of vendors at the Arceaux market.

I'm going to keep searching for local producers of duck and with a little luck might be able to return to these recipes in the fall.