Chef Tom Saab demos Bistro 218’s delectable duck confit. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Jan Walsh 

A very important part of my work as a food writer is… eating the food. And no matter what is put before me, with the exception of mushrooms/fungi that I am allergic to, I eat it. Through the years my palate has developed an appreciation of foods that I previous thought I did not “like.” Duck was one of those foods. I struggled to enjoy duck, even when prepared by the best of chefs. Yet today there was no struggle. Bistro 218’s Duck Confit, paired with a glass of Chateau Mirambeau, is not only the best duck I have ever tasted, it changed my former mindset about this bird. I loved Saab’s duck so much that and look forward to having it again soon at Bistro 218, where it takes him three days to prepare this classic French dish.

Duck Confit Ingredients:
2 Duck legs
2 Duck thigh quarters
¼ Cup kosher salt
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley
½  Head garlic, split and cut crossways
16 Fluid ounces of melted duck fat
8 Ounces blanched fingerling potatoes
4 Ounces blanched haricot verts or other green beans
8 Ounces chicken or veal stock
1 Tablespoon softened butter
2 Sprigs fresh thyme

Duck Confit Procedure:

Day One: Trim and excess fat from duck leg quarters. Combine chopped parsley, chopped thyme, and salt. Rub duck with salt mixture. Refrigerate overnight uncovered.

Day Two: Wipe all salt from duck with clean, dry towel. Place duck and garlic cloves in a baking dish. Cover with melted duck fat completely covering the duck. Keep fat level at least one inch below the rim of the dish. Cover with lid. Cook in a conventional oven at 175 degrees for eight hours, or until you can twist an inserted fork and feel the duck shred. Carefully remove from oven. Allow to rest at room temperature for one hour.

Remove the duck from the fat and place in a single layer in a clean earthenware container. Discard the garlic. Slowly pour the melted fat over the duck, completely covering the duck, while leaving any meat juices in the bottom of the baking dish. The liquid should be clear. For proper long-term storage it is important to remove all water and blood. Refrigerate uncovered overnight or up to four weeks.

Day Three: Remove the earthenware container from the refrigerator at least one hour before service, allowing the fat to soften and making the duck easy to remove from the fat. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Set a fry pan over medium high heat. Wipe excess fat from the duck pieces. Place in the hot fry pan skin side down. Cook duck for three minutes or until the skin browns and becomes crisp. Place the duck pieces, potatoes and vegetables on a baking sheet and bake for eight minutes. To Plate heat the in a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Reduce by half.  Cool slightly and add softened butter. Spoon onto the center of the plate. Place the duck and vegetables on the sauce and garnish with fresh thyme. Serves two.

Published, B-Metro magazine, October 2013