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A thoughtful blend of original ‪‎photography‬, ‪haiku‬ and ‪calligraphy‬; a cathartic journey upon fluid images and simple words.

3 Nov 2011

Duck over toasted breadcrumbs and sweet-sour celery

Pan-fried Duck breast over spiced toasted breadcrumbs and served with sweet-sour celery and raisins
Bitter-sweet, sour-sweet, life has to be sweet one way or another. But what do you prefer to be coupled with it? bitterness or sourness? I'd say, give me some salt and I am happy with both.

I do like sour things, they give me a high. Have you ever sipped apple-cider vinegar (for health reason not just because there was nothing better to drink at home) when you are sleepy? You can almost feel your heart speed up. Sour things release Hydrogen ions in your body and that is like eating a battery; new electricity runs through your veins and make you buzz!
It isn't that you get electrocuted when you eat lot of ceviche in one day but I think it will contribute to keep you active for a while. 

What else do you do to keep your buzz going? Even though buzz sounds almost like booze, it just make me sleepy; so I stick with coffee thank you.
Each morning I have to have my Arabic-mocha.

Morning mood
My little steel-pot on the electric hob, at close to the minimum power; few teaspoons of coffee powder go in and then it is a slow infusion. Often it takes up to half an hour to reach the simmering point!
To have it special (and traditional), add to it 1-2 cardamom pods crashed toward the end of the infusion process. Sometimes, when I feel in need of a special hug, I can slip in a little cocoa powder or some cumin seeds.
A simple/common beverage becomes this way a special brew!

I very rarely use sugar in my coffees, and usually that is coupled with milk. I'd rather use a little salt to tame a strong coffee bitterness than add sweetness to it. The latter seems to make it kinda too thick on the palate; the light aromatic broth is transformed is something totally different and not necessarily pleasant (don't get me started about warm milk with sugar ewwww).
Sugar is definitely overrated in our lives, I just keep in my pantry to use as baking ingredient for making caramel! The chemical transformation of something so boring when eat alone just transforms itself... Ahhh caramel.... That will be for a future post though, this time around I propose another duck recipe with a Sicilian flair (and a little sugar in it):

Pan-fried Duck breast over spiced toasted breadcrumbs and served with sweet-sour celery and raisins

Pan-fried Duck breast over spiced toasted breadcrumbs and served with sweet-sour celery and raisins
Ingredients (serve 2): 

  • 300g Duck breast 
 For the sweet-sour celery: 
  • 1tbsp duck fat 
  • red chili flakes, to taste 
  • 1 celery stalk, cut in 2" sticks 
  • 1tsp sugar 
  • 1tbsp wine vinegar 
  • 1tbsp dried raisins, soaked 
  • salt 
 For the toasted breadcrumbs: 
  • 1/2tbsp duck fat 
  • 1tbsp breadcrumbs 
  • 1/4tsp cinnamon 
  • 1/8tsp nutmeg 
  • salt & pepper 


Score the duck-breast' skin with few slits not deeper than the skin itself. Place it, skin-side down, on a cold skillet and warm the whole on a medium fire. The fat will render and may start splatter, in this case transfer some of it in a small pot.
Fry the duck breast on the skin-side until it will become crisp and of a deep golden color. In the meantime warm up the oven to 200C/390F; if the skillet you are using is not oven-safe, place a cookie shit in the warming oven.
When the duck-breast skin will be crisp and of a nice golden color, turn it over and let it cook for 1-2 minutes or until the under side will have started to take on color. At this point either slide the skillet directly in the warm oven or transfer the duck breast on the hot cookie sheet. Cook the duck breast in the oven skin-side up for 6-8 minutes or until it will have reached the doneness of your liking. When ready, tent the breast loosely with aluminum paper and let it rest for further 5 minutes out of the oven.

In the meantime that the duck is cooking, let's work on the other components of the dish. In a skillet combine the duck fat and the breadcrumbs thoroughly and toast them over medium low fire until they turn a nice tan colour add then the spices, season with salt (be careful when tasting, they are scorching hot).
For the celery, sauté it with some olive oil and the chili flakes for 1-2 minutes. Add then the raisins and let them warm through. At this point add the sugar and, once it will have dissolved and start caramelising, the vinegar. Take out of the fire and season with salt and extra sugar or vinegar if needed.
To serve, warm up the breadcrumbs if they have cooled down too much and divide them on the serving plates; they will act as a sweet sandy bed for the duck-breast slices. Arrange the meat over the breadcrumbs followed by the sour sweet celery and raisins. Drizzle the extra sauce over the meat and enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. How interesting about the Hydrogen ions! Never knew that. Love this recipe (particularly the raisins paired with the duck - and what gorgeous photos!