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Seared Duck Breast with Glazed Sweet Potatoes
Recipe adapted from Andrea Reusing, Lantern, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes (plus overnight marinating)
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes (plus overnight marinating)
1 cup sake kasu (sake lees) or white miso
¾ cup sake
2 Moulard duck breasts (about 14 ounces each), skin scored in a crosshatch pattern
Freshly ground pepper
2 shallots, thinly sliced into rings
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1½ teaspoons sugar
Kosher salt, to taste
1 crisp-sweet apple (such as Macoun), cut into a large dice
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon poppy seeds
1½ tablespoons duck fat or clarified butter
2 to 3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1½ pounds), peeled and cut into thick 1-inch rounds
½ cup chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
½ cup apple cider
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
2 cups watercress
2 tablespoons corn oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Kosher salt, to taste
1. Make the duck: In a small bowl, whisk together the sake kasu and sake. Place the duck in a shallow dish and coat with the sake mixture. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 3 days. Using a butter knife, scrape all marinade from the duck and then pat dry with paper towels. Season the duck with salt and pepper.
2. Heat a cast-iron skillet over low heat. Add the duck, skin side down, and cook, without turning, until the skin is crispy, about 20 minutes. Flip the breasts and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Set the duck aside to rest.
3. Make the pickled shallots: In a medium bowl, combine the shallots, red wine vinegar, sugar and salt. Set aside to marinate.
4. Make the pickled apples: In a medium bowl, combine the diced apple, apple cider vinegar, sugar and poppy seeds. Set aside to marinate.
5. Make the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the duck fat in a shallow 2-inch-deep braising pan. Add the sweet potatoes and cook, turning once, until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Add the stock and cider. Bring to a simmer. Cover the pan, transfer to the oven, and bake until the potatoes are firm-tender, about 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it over medium-high heat. Stir in the honey. Cook, turning the potatoes occasionally, until glazed, about 6 minutes. Set aside. Keep the oven warm.
6. Make the watercress: In a small bowl, toss the watercress, corn oil, lime juice and kosher salt.
7. To serve, heat the duck in the oven until medium-rare, 6 to 8 minutes. Cut the duck into slices and arrange in the center of the platter. Arrange the sweet potatoes, pickled shallots, pickled apples and watercress around the duck. Drizzle the duck with the pan juices. Serve.