Friday, January 6, 2012

Obsession: Duck Fat

All of you that know me and my cooking well, know one of my secret ingredients is duck fat.
I will most often use it as my source of fat to cook with, unless of course it is a vegetarian dish i am making. I render my own duck fat, as I prepare confit of duck regularly and it's very easy to do. The flash point is pretty high and it won't combust or smoke as readily as olive oil, it's twin, will do. I prefer to mix fats, as they do in Moroccan cooking, to build a baseline of flavor for the searing of meats or vegetables. If one were making perfume, you would consider it the base note, to which all other ingredients gather their flavor and integrity. Is there anything better than potatoes roasted in duck fat? The potato galette pictured below was prepared by brushing the cast iron skillet with duckfat and then arranging the thinly sliced potatoes in a spiral pattern around the pan. I sliced these on a mandolin. I did three layers and each layer was brushed with liquid duck fat and then salted and peppered. The final touch, a drizzle of heavy cream, a scattering of kalamata olives, chili flake and flat leaf parsley...salt and pepper. Roasted in a 400 degree oven til golden brown.

There are many health benefits to duck fat. Duck fat contains 35.7% saturates, 50.5% monounsaturates (high in linoleic acid) and 13.7% polyunsaturated fats.(Which contains Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential oils). This compares to olive oil which is: 75% monounsaturated fat (mostly oleic acid) 13% saturated fat and 10% Omega-6 linoleic acid and 2% Omega-3 linoleic acid. The main difference between chicken, turkey and duck is that duck contains more linoleic acid, which chicken and turkey contain a higher amount of polyunsaturated fats. It seems as if duck fat is more like olive oil than it is like butter.

The complexity and richness of flavor is an added bonus to the health benefits.

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