Duck is such a tasty dish, but if it should ever go wrong…
Nigel Slater’s duck with glazed apples and mange tout
Trota remembers all too vividly the time she scooped the Duckie – the cartoon kitchen equivalent of the Razzie. She shudders to think, but lessons have been learnt…
Anyway, inspired by a tried and tested Nigel Slater recipe (The Observer Magazine, 6 July 2014), Trota was determined to keep the cooking time in check so the meat would stay moist, tender and succulent – just as it should.
For this dish you will need two duck breasts, 3–4 medium apples, 100g mange tout, 35ml French vermouth, 1–2tsp honey to taste.
Wash and pat-dry the meat, criss-cross score the skin (don’t cut through the meat itself) and season. In a hot pan start by frying the breasts, skin side down. No oil needed because the skin will release its own fat. Don’t disturb for the first five minutes or so, until the skin is brown and caramelised, then turn the meat over and cook for another couple of minutes or so. The trick with duck is to cook it well on the outside but keep it pink on the inside: cook for too long and it turns into… yup, rubber bath toy. Stay focused, choose your moment to take the duck out of the pan, then leave to rest somewhere warm.
While the duck is cooking, peel and slice the apples and wash and trim the mange tout to your liking. Be ready: as soon as you take the duck out of the pan put the apple and mange tout in to stir fry in the fat. After a minute or two add the vermouth and honey and keep cooking for five minutes or so – shaking the pan every so often until the mange tout are tender (but retain some bite) and the apples have softened and caramelised.
Slice the duck 1cm thick and serve alongside the apples and mange tout. Despite (or perhaps because of) those shaky early attempts, this time Trota surpassed herself and mastered the cooking time to perfection. Nothing for those armchair cooks and food pundits (let alone Salmon and Fidget) to complain about this time: compliments to the chef!