For the first few years my parents had the farm, they raised Muscovy ducks, the domesticated white variety. Their eggs were a pleasure to bake with and their meat was delicious. Unfortunately, the bald eagles that lived nearby were awfully fond of them, too, so they disappeared one by one. Eventually, my parents tired of replenishing the eagles’ larder and stuck to chickens and geese after that.
I don’t have duck often now, so it’s nice to have a reminder of how easily it makes a delicious meal. This week’s dish required turning on the oven and a little time in front of the stove, on a hot summer’s day. It was worth braving the extra heat for this combination of duck with the peaches that are just hitting their peak here.
I only made a quarter of the recipe, as I knew I’d be eating it alone. I had some lovely peaches I’d picked up at Kerrisdale Farmers Market earlier in the week and I was eager to put them to good use. They were clingstone, so the finished dish wasn’t exactly as Dorie had envisioned it, but they were organic, perfectly ripe, and delicious nevertheless.
I used one for the duck dish and sliced the rest up for this peach crisp, which I modified by adding more (gluten-free) oats to the topping and reducing the amount of (again, gluten-free) flour. I should have made some modifications to the bottom as well, though. Next time, I’ll combine the sour cream mixture with the fruit, while adding some spices or herbs. As written, it’s good, but a little blander than I’d like.
As for the duck, Dorie’s instructions were perfect, save for the temperature of the pan. I had to turn it down from medium-high to a little less than medium to keep from burning the skin of the duck. The pan sauce was perfectly balanced, balsamic and white vinegars against the honey and port wine. (I made a half recipe of the sauce, and sopped the extra up with a little bread.)
This made a perfect summer meal, with some salad on the side, but it would also make a lovely summer appetizer, too. Especially for those prudent enough to take their cooking outside.
You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Duck Breasts With Fresh Peaches