Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Favorite Thing This Week

My favorite thing this week is ... duck fat! And I'm going to show you how to use this awesome ingredient today.

The world loves duck fat. From confit to duck-fat-fried potatoes, this decadant ingredient is revered by famous chefs around the world. But there's no reason the everday cook can't use it at home.

I came across duck fat a couple weeks ago while in a gourmet food store. I've wanted to order some for a while now but didn't want to deal with the shipping fees involved when ordering frozen food. I have on occasion come into quantities of duck fat while roasting duck, but don't do that often. So I was overjoyed to find a supplier of this heavenly ingredient.
If you haven't used duck fat before, you are missing out. It adds a "meaty", luxurious flavor to whatever you're cooking.

According to D'artagnan and other sources, duck fat is actually better for you than butter, as it is low in saturated fats.

It's too pricey for me to use on a regular basis, but sometimes the opportunity arises where I just can't resist.

Doing a quick Internet search, it seems that everyone is in agreement. Potatoes and duck fat are a perfect pairing.

I start out with some perfect little new potatoes.
I dice them up because the more surface area they have, the more yummy, crunchy, crusty flavor they'll have. Well that, and they'll cook faster
Next I peel a shallot. An onion would work fine, too, but I had a shallot on hand and I like their more delicate flavor.
Slice 'em up. They're going to get pretty crispy. If you're not a fan of crispy shallots, you could slice them thicker or use a diced onion instead.
Next smash up a couple garlic cloves. Keep these in big chunks; you don't want them to burn. Burned garlic is no good.
At this point, I've had the oven preheating and been melting a hefty spoonful of duck fat in my roasting pan. Everything gets piled onto the pan and tossed around with a nice coating of melted duck. To this I add a couple shakes of dried rosemary, as well as some salt and pepper.
Just pop everything in the oven and let the heat do its thing.
Be sure to open the oven and stir your potatoes around every once in a while. Sometimes they stick, which completely defeats the point of a crispy outside and a fluffy inside.

Here's what they look like about halfway done. The outside is getting crisp but the inside is still a little underdone.
Here they are in the flesh, rich and ready to eat.

Mmm, duck fat roasted potatoes. Serve these to your next dinner guests and they're sure to be impressed. Or just make them for yourself. That way, you'll be sure to have leftovers. Either way, give them a try and discover for yourself why duck fat is the ultimate flavor-enhancing fat.

Recipe: Duck Fat Roasted Potatoes
1 large spoonful (at least 2 tbsp) rendered duck fat
1 lb. young potatoes, cubed
1 large shallot, sliced thin
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425F. Place duck fat on baking pan and put in oven to melt.

Once fat has melted, remove from oven and add remaining ingredients, tossing well to make sure everything is covered in the fat.

Roast for 45 min-1 hour or until potatoes are cooked through and well-colored on the outside. Serve as a side dish or just eat them standing up in the kitchen, right out of the pan.

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