If you have a close relative that is going to France, what is the first thing you ask them to bring back?
Cheese! And lots of it.
That’s exactly what I did and alhamdulillah, I got a lot.
But I also got a lot more than I bargained for since I asked to get something really French. Well, it doesn’t get much more French than Confit de Canard.
What is Confit de Canard anyway?
It is duck preserved in its own fat and if you have never had it, it looks downright scary to try.
Apart from Chinese take out, most of which is not halal, most of us pizza loving North Americans are not that familiar with duck. First off, we are conditioned to fear the fat and duck is known for it’s crispy, fatty skin.
I felt assured that I would have my husband to share it with.
Not so fast — silly me thought that my husband lo-oved confit de canard. Not. At. All.
When it comes to cheese, all he needs is a good Gruyère and the rest of it just smells terrible to him. When it came to the confit, how crestfallen was I to hear “I don’t eat this stuff. You said you wanted something French.”
I will confess, I felt like I was in over my head and it sat at the back of the fridge for a long while. Good thing I started this blog because I have finally mustered up the courage to eat it.
I started as incorrectly as possible by trying to spoon two duck thighs from a jar fresh from the fridge.
My spoon was crushing under the pressure until certain individuals who don’t eat confit suddenly said, “we usually invert it and let it sit then slide it out”. Hmm…I thought we “don’t eat this stuff”. Curious.
Usually, I hate making salad because it takes sooo much prep. I just roll my eyes when people say, “oh, just throw together a salad. It’s so easy.” However, I was feeling really inspired with this exciting new food item so I went all out with no less than (hold on, counting) 5 veggies plus herbs, spices and oil.
I had this overabundance of onions at the time so while I would usually go for garlic, I really needed to use up these onions. I’m talking bags and bags of onions. Don’t ask.
Since they lose a lot of their eye torturing power when cooked – particularly roasted – I figured that was the way to go. It’s also really easy. No peeling just oil, slice and s&p.
Pop them in @ 425-450°F for 15-20 et voilà.
Historically, I have hated crutons. Those dried, chemically flavoured bits of bread that would usually just be a soggy mess at the end of a Caesar salad. When ordering such salad, I would usually request that they drop the croutons.
That was until I had my husbands homemade croutons and now I make salad just to eat croutons. True story.
Typically, confit de canard is simply thrown into a baguette with some mayonnaise or aïoli (basically mayonnaise but not). I was also informed of this by the same individual who does not eat confit de canard — again, curious.
I don’t think I could bring myself to have such a fatty meat, starch and more fat with no veggie buffer. A salad was a natural progression really.
This salad has a lot of working parts so I will try to give a good indication of how things should be paced on the recipe card so you end up with the tastiest crispiest salad possible. You do want to have your preserved duck still warm to the touch after taking it off of the stove.
How many this will serve depends on how much salad greens you use. If you use a whole tub and add some iceberg, it can serve up to four as a main.
I was eating this for about two days.
You may have been skeptical at the beginning but now you are just itching for the recipe. Here is your card.
- 2 preserved duck thighs
- 2 large onions
- 1 summer squash (yellow zucchini) sliced into strips
- 1 tub of field greens (add iceberg for extra crunch)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3-4 fresh chives finely diced
- Garlic powder
- Salt & Pepper
- Olive oil
- Baking pan
- Cutting boards
- Salad bowls
- Skillet (cast iron best)
- Invert the confit jar and set aside
- Preheat oven to 400°F (or higher). Prepare onions by slicing onions in half, skins and all, then seasoning with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Place cut side down onto baking pan and put into oven for 20 minutes or until caramelised.
- Wash field greens and lettuce and set aside to drain and dry.
- Slice plum tomatoes in half lengthwise then finely chop chives. Strip fresh thyme from stalk and chop if desired.
- Remove 2 duck thighs and reheat them on low heat in a skillet. Separate into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
- Drain of excess duck fat and set aside. Pan fry summer squash (yellow zukes) until golden brown. Set aside.
- Take as many slices of bread as desired.
- Use a crepe pan and heat using high heat. Add olive oil and place bread slices.
- Fry on both sides to desired colour and let cool before slicing into squares.
- Toss all of the ingredients -- greens, duck, herbs, veggies -- and sprinkle with olive oil and desired melange of dried herbs. *We suggest garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Add the croutons, toss again and serve immediately.
- Do not discard duck fat. It makes a great replacement for pork fat due to its high fat content and strong flavour.