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PEKING-ISH DUCK

Ingredients

The Duck:

4, 7-8-ounce boneless duck breasts

1 tablespoon garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, chopped

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine

¼ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons peanut oil

The Pancakes:

1 ½ cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup boiling water

1 teaspoon sesame oil

The Fixin’s:

½ cup hoisin sauce

1 cup cucumber, thinly julienned

1 cup scallions, thinly julienned

1 cup carrots, thinly julienned

Instructions

Rinse the duck breasts in cold water and pat completely dry all over with paper towels.  Place them in one layer on a large plate.

Combine the garlic, ginger, soy, vinegar, Shaoxing, Chinese 5 spice, and sesame oil in a small bowl and whisk to combine.  Pour the marinade over the duck breasts and turn them to fully coat in the marinade.  Place the plate in the refrigerator, uncovered, with the duck skin-side up, for at least 6 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to cook, wipe any excess marinade, garlic, and ginger off the breasts and pat them dry with paper towels.  Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck breast in parallel diagonal slashes about 1” apart, taking care, not to cut the flesh under the skin.  This will allow the fat to render and create a crispy skin.

Drizzle the peanut oil in a large COLD cast iron pan.  Place the breasts, skin-side down in the cold skillet.  Turn the heat to medium and let the breasts cook until the skin is crispy brown and fat has rendered, about 5-7 minutes.  Flip to the flesh side and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Drain the fat from the pan (reserve the rendered fat for future use).  Place the skillet in the oven and cook the duck breasts for 7-8 minutes, until temperature registers 130 degrees (cook time varies slightly depending on the size of your breasts, so check them periodically). Transfer the cooked breasts to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.  Let them rest for 10 minutes.

While the duck is cooking and resting, make the pancakes.  Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.  Pour the boiling water into the bowl and mix with a rubber spatula or chopsticks until combined and the mixture begins to stick together.  As soon as it is cool enough to touch, turn the dough onto the countertop and knead for 8-10 minutes until soft and smooth. Place in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap and let rest for 45 minutes.

Roll the dough into a log and cut it into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a small disc and using a rolling pin to roll the dough into a VERY thin pancake, about 6” in diameter.  Keep turning the discs, a half turn, periodically, as you roll them out allows you to keep the pancakes in an even thickness and round shape.

Brush a non-stick skillet lightly with sesame oil and heat over medium heat.  Place the pancakes, one at a time, in the skillet and cook for about 1-2 minutes on the first side until they begin to bubble and some light brown spots form on the bottom side. Flip and cook for 1 minute on the other side.  Stack the cooked pancakes on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel to keep them from drying out.

When the duck has rested, slice against the grain in thin slices and transfer to a platter.

To assemble, take one pancake and spread about 1 tablespoon of the hoisin sauce in the center.  Top with a couple of slices of the duck and a couple pieces each of the cucumber, scallions, and carrot. Fold the pancake around the contents and devour.

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