Pan seared duck, smoked cod’s roe foam, Madeira truffle sauce

Perhaps I was inspired from the time I plunged leftover roast duck into a tub of taramasalata. I wasn’t able to perform this act of culinary barbarism only once and ended feasting on a whole tub of the piscine dip and the complete remains of the roast. The combination of the saltiness of the cod’s roe and the meatiness of the duck was delicious. I have used the fruit of the caper bush (capparis spinosa) as a garnish. They are distinguishable from the flower buds of the bush known as capers.

For the Duck jus

1 uncooked duck carcass chopped into pieces

2 tbs olive oil

2/3 cup (150 mls) water

2 onions chopped (including some brown outer skin)

1 stick celery chopped

2 carrots peeled and chopped

1 swede peeled and chopped

9 oz (250 gms) button mushrooms, chopped

5 oz (150 gms) shiitake mushrooms, chopped

2 leeks, chopped

6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2/3 cup (150 mls) Madeira wine

15 black peppercorns

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 litres chicken stock/water (see appendix on stocks)

In a large stock pan, sauté the duck bone pieces in the olive oil. When the bones have browned and have started sticking to the bottom of the pan, add the water scraping the juices clinging to the bottom. This is the first deglazing process. When the water has evaporated and the pan begins to sizzle, commence the second deglazing by adding 150ml of the chicken stock and again scrape off the juices at the bottom of the pan. As the pan begins to sizzle once more, add the stock vegetables, the water from the celery, carrots, swede, mushrooms, leeks, garlic, seasoning and herbs deglazing the pan for the third time. Cook until the vegetables have become lightly caramelized. For the fourth deglazing, add the Madeira and reduce it by about two thirds. Add the peppercorns and thyme then the rest of the chicken stock (enough to cover the bones). Bring the sauce to a simmer but do not boil to avoid clouding of the sauce. As the contents of the pan warms, carefully remove the fat and impurities that rise to the surface of the pan. Continue the gentle simmer for 90 minutes whilst regularly skimming the surface. Strain the sauce into a small pot. Avoid squeezing the vegetables as this may force impurities into the sauce. Reduce the sauce until it has a gelatinous consistency with an intense flavour.

For the duck breast

First of all, flatten the duck breast with a rolling pin. Dry the skin with kitchen paper. Rub salt into the skin to aid removal of moisture. Season the breast with some black pepper. Score the skin very carefully with a sharp knife in a criss-cross manner being very careful not to penetrate the skin to the underlying muscle. Place breast skin side down on a cold skillet. Heat the skillet on the hob and sauté the breast in its own fat under a low to medium heat for about 10 minutes. Check periodically that you are not burning the skin. Turn the breast over and continue cooking for another 6 minutes. Take the breast out of the skillet and onto a warm plate to allow to cool for about 8-10 minutes.

For the foam

3 inch (8 cms) piece of smoked cod’s roe

2 fl oz (60 mls) cream

2 fl oz (60 mls) milk

1 tsp lecithin granules

1/2 tsp xantham gum

In a blender, combine the ingredients and blend to a sturdy foam.

For the Madeira truffle sauce

2  tbsp unsalted butter

1  tbsp shallots, finely chopped

½ cup (125 mls) Madeira

1 cup (250 mls) demiglace ( or highly reduced veal or beef stock)

½ tsp cornflour dissolved in 1 tbsp water

Salt and black pepper seasoning

1  large black truffle, finely chopped

1  tbsp Cognac

In a skillet, soften the shallots in the butter for about two minutes then deglaze with the Madeira. Reduce the liquid by about 2/3 then add the demiglace, cornflour and seasoning. Add the truffles and Cognac to the boiling liquid and simmer for a minute. Serve quickly.

Plating the food

Cut the duck breast into cubes. Lay out some jus and add the cut breast. Using a syrynge, add the cod’s roe foam and Madeira truffle sauce. I have used softened peach pieces as garnish. I have also used sautéed caper berries.

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