Gunnar originally created this dish with lamb in mind, but he had extra duck breasts on hand and substituted them for the lamb. The result, when served with a silky carrot puree and a vibrant herb emulsion, was a pleasing spring or summer dish with a whisper of the farm delivered by the hay smoking. If you do not use duck fat regularly, now is the time to add it to your list of essential pantry items. Here, it is toasted with semidried herbs to coax out its virtues.
- PG UK published her project Hay Smoked Duck Breasts, Carrot Puree, And Herb Emulsion 10 Oct 10:39
You Will Need
To make the duck breasts, score the fat on the breasts and season the breasts on both
sides with salt. Line a large plate with paper towels. Melt enough butter with oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat to coat the pan bottom lightly. Turn down the heat to medium-low, add the breasts, skin side down, and sauté, turning once, for 7 to
8 minutes. Turn over, raise the heat to high and cook until medium-rare, about 2 min- utes. Transfer the breasts to the paper towel–lined plate and let rest, flipping them once at the midway point to distribute the internal juices evenly, for 7 minutes. Season with more salt if needed.
To make the toasted duck fat, return the pan with the duck fat to medium heat. Add the angelica and thyme and heat for about 2 minutes, until aromatic. Reserve for serving.
To make the carrot puree, put the carrots and water in a pressure cooker, lock the lid in place, bring to medium pressure, and cook for 15 minutes, until golden brown. Let the pressure release naturally. Remove the lid, drain the carrots, and transfer them to a blender. Add the oil and process with on high speed until smooth, adding more oil, if necessary, to form a smooth puree. Season with salt and vinegar.
To make the carrots, melt enough butter with oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat to coat the pan bottom lightly. Add the carrots and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Season with salt.
To make the herb emulsion, combine the mustard, vinegar, garlic, shallot, dill, parsley, and water in a blender and process on high speed to a puree, adding more water as nec- essary to form a smooth consistency. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream and continue to process until smooth. Season with salt and more vinegar, if desired.
To smoke the duck breasts, fill a deep hotel pan or similar vessel with hay. Arrange the duck breasts on a perforated hotel pan and place over high heat. Ignite the hay with a kitchen torch and let burn for about 5 minutes, until almost completely incinerated. Place the perforated pan on top and cover securely with aluminum foil (or a lid). Allow the smoke to smolder out completely, about 10 minutes, before removing the foil or lid. Remove the duck breasts. Crumble the residual ashes to use as a garnish.
To serve, slice the duck breasts and arrange the slices on plates. Arrange the carrots and carrot puree alongside. Dot duck and carrots with the herb emulsion and garnish with the ashes.