Bob Hart cooks up some duck on the barbie
GRILLED ASIAN DUCK BREASTS
While discussion rages about the advisability of holding a Victorian duck season this year, we should remember that duck, at least the domestic variety, is a meat easily harvested from your local butcher: no gun licence required, no protesters to avoid.
Duck, unfortunately for the poor creatures, is one of the most delectable meats available to us, but one we often seem to forget about. It is sensibly priced and easy to prepare ? especially on the barbecue, ideally with an Asian twist.
Start by making up a dry rub as follows:
1 tbs raw sugar (I suggest Dulce, sold in Melbourne at all Market Lane coffee outlets).
1 tsp sea salt (I use Maldon)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
? tsp ground coriander
? tsp ground cinnamon
? tsp cayenne
Buy 2-3 duck breasts and prick the skin ? but not the meat if you can help it ? with a sharp fork and brush with sesame oil to help the dry rub adhere and further flavour the meat. Now, apply the rub.
Place the breasts in a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate for several hours, or even overnight.
Take them out of the fridge and rest them back to room temperature for another hour or so,
Place the breasts, skin side down at first, on a clean, oiled and hot grill at 45 degrees to the grill bars. Drop the lid. Flip them after 3 minutes. Then, flip after another 3 minutes but this time, move them through 90 degrees to grill-mark the skin. Flip the breasts again and grill for another 3 minutes, and that’s it.
NOTE: cooking times can vary with the size of the breasts: this timing will take medium duck breasts close to just under medium, so adjust to your own requirements.
Lift the breasts off the grill and rest, loosely tented, for at least 10 minutes.
Place them on a warm cake rack or a Weber trivet over a warm place to do this, and be careful to capture the juices that run onto the plate.
Then, slice the breast against the grain (crossways), pour over the retained juices and finish with Hoisin sauce or, better still, a Hoisin barbecue sauce made as follows:
Into 3/4 cup Hoisin sauce, stir 1tbs soy, 2tbs rice wine, 2tbs clear honey, 1tbs sesame oil, 2tbs chopped coriander leaves and 2tsp minced fresh ginger.
Place in a small saucepan and simmer, until thickened and richly flavoured (8 ? 10 mins), stirring.
Serve warm with the duck ? either on rice or over an Asian salad.
Or, best of all perhaps, as duck tacos: Warm some small, corn tortillas quickly on the grill, brush a stripe of Hoisin sauce down one side of each tortilla, line this with pieces of duck breast, top with thinly sliced spring onion, thin slices of cucumber and more Hoisin sauce. Wrap and eat.
If you are cooking these on a charcoal barbecue like a Weber kettle, a kamado or a Pit Barrel, you can enhance the flavour by adding star anise, extra five-spice powder, rice, tea and perhaps a chunk of cherry wood to your fire just before you cook your duck.