One of the very best things about the internet (besides adorable cat videos, of course) is the fact that I have met so many cool ladies through our various blogs, though many of our friendships exist only in the cybersphere. Happily, I had a one-night-only chance to meet beautiful Jennifer and her partner Evan in real life.
The pair were in Montreal for some R&R, so I invited them over for a Monday night supper: crispy roast duck legs, navy beans, heirloom beets and dill, Chad Robertson’s dinosaur kale caesar salad (and please, don’t hesitate: make this salad immediately) with big whole wheat croutons, roasted carrots in honey, and duck fat-fried potatoes. (Pro tip: sprinkle your potatoes with chives and smoked paprika and they will emerge from their oven roast tasting of Ruffles-brand sour cream & onion potato chips). For dessert, a little Canadian pride: Ontario peach and Quebec blueberry galette and vanilla-scented whipped cream.
Just a few words on making perfect duck legs. The legs I purchased had a tremendous amount of excess fat, so I rendered all of my trimmings. Just place them in a big pot, cover them halfway up with water, and let it simmer on low, low, low heat. After a few hours, the water will have completely evaporated, leaving behind crisp, golden duck cracklings and a few pints (!) of perfectly rendered duck fat. I used a decent amount to coat the roast potatoes, and bottled the rest — it’ll be perfect for biscuits, savory pie crust, and scones.
But back to the duck. This video sums up the technique quite nicely — the idea is low and slow — though Adam and I couldn’t help but make a few adjustments. Rather than 90 minutes at 300 degrees F, we roasted our legs for two hours at 250 degrees F, turning on the broiler at the end to get extra crispy, golden results. The result is a stunner every time: paper thin shards of skin atop moist, tender leg meat.