One of the first meals we hunt down when we arrive in Paris is Duck Confit with Sarladaise Potatoes. Our favourite version of this classic dish is served at Le Bistrot du 7ème, a lovely restaurant not too far from the Tour Eiffel.
We first visited this restaurant on the recommendation of our Hotel’s concierge and we arrived ridiculously early by French standards (on account of some dreadful jet lag and a need to lie down). We raved about the duck for days but were unable to secure a second helping, due the popularity of the venue. Happily though, we’ve returned many times since.
Duck confit is one of those dishes I crave when I am craving France.
Finally, despite reservations, I decided to teach myself to cook it. I tried several recipes, and had numerous false starts, but eventually came up with a version that we all agreed provoked the memories of the real thing…and pleasingly, it can be done from start to finish on the same day.
- 1 Duck Maryland (sometimes called Duck Royale) per person
- Salt (I like Maldon Sea Salt)
- Chinese 5 Spice Mix
- Duck Fat
- Rectangular ceramic dish – it needs to be big enough to fit the duck in snugly
- Early on the morning of the day you want to eat the dish, place duck pieces in rectangular dish, and sprinkle them liberally with salt and Chinese 5 Spice. Cover, and refrigerate for up to 6 hours.
- When ready to cook duck, preheat oven to 140 degrees celsius.
- Rinse salt and spice from duck in cold running water and pat dry with paper towel.
- Return duck to dish. Spoon enough duck fat into dish so that when it melts, the duck fat almost covers duck pieces.
- Cook for 2 and 1/2 hours.
- Let cool. Ideally refrigerate duck in the fat until you are ready to finalise dish.
When you are ready to serve the duck, preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius. Remove the duck pieces from the fat and place them in a clean pan. Cook the duck in the oven until the meat is hot and the skin starts to crisp.
Serve with potatoes of your choice and a simple green salad.
Let me know in the comments below if you love this French favourite as much as we do.
And, until next time – au revoir.