For the duck breasts:
2 duck breasts*, rested at room temperature for 15 minutes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. reserved duck fat
1 Tbsp. minced shallot or white onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1¼ cup Hefeweizen or Belgian-style ale
1 cup chicken stock
3 Tbsp. cold butter
Salt and white pepper to taste
Glazed brussels sprouts:
¼ cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground white pepper
1 lb. brussels sprouts, blanched and halved
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
6 whole eggs
2 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground white pepper
2 Tbsp. caraway seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely ground
2 cups flour, divided
1 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Olive oil to taste
2 Tbsp. butter or rendered duck fat
¼ cup sliced red onion
• Heat a large skillet on medium-high.
• Using a sharp knife, score each duck breast on the skin side 15 to 20 times in a crosshatching pattern. Take caution to avoid cutting the flesh; cut fully through the fatty skin without piercing the meat.
• Season both sides with salt and pepper.
• Place the breasts skin side down in the warmed skillet.
• Cook for 8 to 9 minutes. Refrain from checking on the skin too often; it will crisp well if constant heat is applied.
• Flip the breast over to the meat side and raise the heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
• When the duck is finished, remove it from the skillet, reserving the rendered fat, and place it on a plate.
• Cover it lightly with a lid or foil for 4 to 5 minutes. This allows the muscles to loosen and to finish cooking, which helps avoid tough meat.
• The meat should be medium-rare.
• Slice the duck from the flesh side into ¼-inch thick slices and fan onto a plate.
* This recipe is calculated for Pekin ducks. If Muscovy ducks are used, cook them 10 to 12 minutes on the skin side and 4 to 5 on the meat side.
• Place a 2- or 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. In it, warm the duck fat.
• Add the shallot, garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute but do not allow them to brown.
• Add the beer and stock. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the mixture is reduced to 1 cup of liquid.
• Remove the pan from the heat and swirl in the butter.
• Taste and add salt and white pepper as necessary.
Glazed Brussels Sprouts
• Mix the vinegar and honey in a 2- or 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.
• Bring the mixture to a boil, then allow it to cook for 1 minute.
• Add the brussels sprouts and seasonings.
• Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the liquid thickens into a glaze.
• Fill a 4- or 5-quart pot. Lightly salt it and place it over high heat.
• While waiting for it to boil, mix the lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, salt, pepper and caraway seeds together until well combined.
• Add half the flour and mix with a large spoon until the flour is incorporated.
• Add the remaining flour and mix until smooth. The batter should hold on the spoon in thick strings when raised, then slide off smoothly. (Add more water if it’s too thick.)
• When the water reaches a rolling boil, reduce the heat slightly. Using either a colander or a Spätzle press, force a large spoonful or two of the batter through the holes and into the simmering water. (The batter will be cooked in batches – not like pasta, where the noodles are put in all at once.)
• When the Spätzle rise to the top, usually after 1 or 2 minutes, stir them and allow them to cook for 1 additional minute.
• Using a slotted spoon, remove them to a colander to drain off any excess water.
• Drizzle the Spätzle lightly with olive oil to prevent sticking. Reserve them and continue cooking the rest of the batter.
• When the Spätzle are done, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the butter or duck fat.
• When it’s well-heated, add the onion and sauté for 1 minute.
• Add the Spätzle and stir gently. Keep them moving to prevent sticking, and cook until lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes.
• Serve immediately.