© Constantine William Spyrou
When I really want to get exciting new ideas for a recipe, one thing I like to do is go to the fridge. I'll pick one ingredient in the fridge and try to make a dish that gives that flavor a primary role. Tonight, that ingredient was apple juice.
Apple juice has a clean, crisp, and refreshing flavor that balances out between tartness and sweetness. To make its flavor shine in a dish, I decided to pair it with a protein that goes extremely well with fruit - duck. To help it accentuate the flavors of apple juice, the duck is going to be seasoned with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and fennel seed. These are all spices that are commonly mulled with apple juice to make a warm and tasty cider.
Backing up the flavor of the apple and giving the dish more body is a white wine reduction that utilizes the apple juice. A lot of white whines have apple-like notes in their flavor profile, which means that they will complement the apple juice perfectly in the reduction.
Finishing off the dish is a potato latke made with onion and apple to add the extra level of apple flavor while providing some texture contrast to the rich, meaty duck. Together, these three components - the duck, latke, and reduction - should bring out the natural flavors of apple and accentuate duck to bring it to the next level!
Recipe is for one portion.
For the Duck and Reduction:
1 6-8 oz duck breast
Salt and pepper to season
1/4 ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground toasted fennel seed
1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup Gruner Veltliner Wine (this is the best white wine for this dish. Other wines that work include Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, or Chenin Blanc.)
For the latke:
1/4 pound peeled Russett potatoes, grated
1/4 cup minced white onion
1/4 cup diced skinned apple (Granny Smith and Gala apples work best for this because they take cooking well and go well with onion)
1/2 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper to season
1. Add the apple juice and white wine to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and let reduce by about half.
2. While the reduction is working, score the duck breast skin through to the fat layer and rub the fennel, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt and pepper throughout the duck. Be sure to rub it on the meat side of the duck as well.
3. Place the duck, skin side down, into a dry pan on low heat. Let the fat render down as the duck slowly heats up.
4. As the duck fat is melting, combine your latke ingredients and form into a single pancake. Set aside to be ready for frying.
5. Once a lot of the fat has rendered out, turn up the heat in the pan and let both sides color. Once both the skin and meat are colored well, place the duck and pan into a 375 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes.
6. Once the duck comes out of the oven, take it out of the pan and let it rest. Keep the duck fat in the pan, and place it on a medium-high heat. Add the latke to the pan, and cook for a minute on each side until golden brown.
7. Plate the dish by placing the latke on the bottom, then cut the rested duck into thick slices and drizzle the apple juice-white wine reduction over the duck.
This dish really goes for the apple flavor through the latke and reduction as the main supporting flavor to the duck. Backed up by a great white wine to flavor and the cider-like spices of the duck, the flavors will mingle in an exciting new way.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =)