Confit is a classic French method of cooking and means to slowly cook in fat (preferably duck). Although considered fairly unhealthy, once the leg is cooked it is roasted, removing a lot of the residual fat making the dish more palatable for those that are more health conscious.
A fusion of French and Asian cuisine may seem unusual but wonderfully complement each other, with every mouthful a burst of flavour. The dish takes a while to prepare but is worth the time and effort. If time is not on your side you may wish to skip the salting of the ducks legs, or even perhaps the entire duck leg, for duck breast would work well. Substituting may save a few hours, but the recipe works fantastically with the duck legs.
2 ducks legs
100g coarse sea salt
60g sugar (demerara works best)
1 bulb garlic
2 sticks rosemary
5 bay leaves
500g duck fat
1 bunch greens (purple sprouting broccoli or similar)
2 large potatoes
1 ripe pomegranate
200ml soy sauce
25ml toasted sesame oil
50ml lime juice
50ml rice wine/ white wine vinegar
50g grated ginger
25g toasted sesame seeds (white and black seeds give a lovely contrast)
Crush 2 cloves of garlic and mix with the salt, sugar and half rosemary. Lightly sprinkle the salt and sugar mixture over the duck legs and leave for 2-3 hours; this is done to draw out moisture making it less likely to fall apart whilst cooking as well as providing seasoning. After 3 hours wash the curing mix from the legs and submerge in the melted duck fat with the remaining garlic, bay leaves and rosemary. Cover with foil and bake in the oven at 150c for around 4 hours or until a skewer passes through with no resistance.
Whilst the ducks are cooking, begin by preparing the dressing. Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, ginger and sesame seeds. A jam jar makes a quick cheat for making dressings, just place all ingredients in, put the lid on and give a shake. Check seasoning, you may prefer it saltier or sharper depending on your taste, a little honey can give an element of sweetness if desired.
The next steps can be left until the ducks are nearly cooked leaving you time to set a table or maybe just relax. When ready, half the pomegranate and remove seeds (hitting gently but firmly with the rolling pin works well). Save these to garnish.
Peel and coarsely grate the potato into a bowl (the longer the strands the better). Squeeze excess juice out of the grated potato for a crisp rösti. Season and mix with a few tablespoons of duck fat. At the ready, have a hot cast iron or non-stick pan and shape the röstis in a basic inch thick disc. Spoon the rösti into a pan and turn the heat down to stop from burning. Once coloured on one side, flip and place in the oven to dry out and finish cooking. Once the röstis go in, turn the oven up to 180c and remove the duck legs from the fat and place on a tray back in the oven to crisp.
Finally, oil and season the greens in preparation for grilling. Have a grill pan near smoking hot, place the greens into a pan and spread evenly, flip after a minute or so and begin plating.
The rösti is the first component followed by the grilled greens. Then place the crisp duck leg in an upwards angle on top of the greens and spoon the dressing over and around the dish. A final sprinkle of pomegranate and the dish is ready to serve. Chilli and coriander is an optional garnish depending on palate. Bon appetite.
A bit of input from everyone at the Ian Dunn design team