Whenever duck is on the menu at a restaurant, I have an inner dialogue that resembles the following:
“Oh, duck, yum! I think I’ll get the duck.”
“Meaghan, you had duck last time. Get something else.”
Despite my love of crazy canard, I had never cooked it. Partly because I never had it at home, partly because at restaurants it always seemed sort of exotic and fancy, partly because it’s just not something you see recipes for that often.
In the hopes of killing two birds with one stone, as it were, I decided to make Thomas Keller’s duck confit from Ad Hoc at Home. I deviated slightly from his recipe (by cutting it down in size and adding a metric ton of garlic to the duck fat), but otherwise stuck with him, salt rub and low cooking temperature and all.
It. Was. Phenomenal.
It was the type of recipe that felt like cheating – I rinsed the salt rub off the legs, put them in a pan of duck fat, and shoved it in the oven. Then I hovered anxiously in the kitchen for 45 minutes, feeling like I should have been doing something. I prepped my side dishes hours in advance to occupy my hands – washing and chopping brussels sprouts, dicing an onion, measuring out cornmeal for polenta. Then I wandered away, only to realize two hours later that our house smelled fantastic, and it had somehow been my doing.