Tuesday, November 17, 2009


...Or more correctly, Mallard, is a wild duck which was the ancestor of most domestic ducks. It is less fatty, more meaty and less expensive than regular duck, making it a perfect option for preparing at home without spending too much. Today, I'll show you how to get a fantastic fancy looking meal for a fraction of what you would pay in a restaurant and the triple of what you would ever get. Each breast roughly weight between 300 and 400g and cost around 40 shekels each. One whole breast for each person makes a really large portion... but worry not, you won't hear any complaints... or see any leftovers. Only happy faces munching away.

So lets start with these two beautiful mallard breasts. They usually come frozen, so let them gently defrost in the fridge without removing from the plastic pouch.

Here they are, completely defrosted

With a sharp knife, slash the fat, just until reaching the meat. This will give the fat more surface to melt down and flavor the meat underneath.

Try not to reach the meat when slashing the fat!

Now, sprinkle the meat with coarse sea salt. Be generous, most of the salt will melt away with the fat and only a part of it will reach into the meat.
Here's our salted meat, nearly ready to be cooked!

Now, there are two ways to cook your mallard: On a heavy frying pan, skin down or under the oven grill, skin up. I prefer to do it in the oven, since the fat drips down and the skin crisps up far better than when frying in it's own fat.
Find yourself a griddle, like in the picture (this one is actually used for putting cookies and cakes to cool on). You can get one for around 30 shekels at any cooking store or improvise with the griddle from your barbecue. Put that griddle on top of any shallow pan (I usually line it with  foil to make cleaning easier). 
The main idea is to raise the meat so that the fat falls to the bottom and the meat stays out of the cooking juices.
Set your oven to around 250 degrees celcius (no need for turbo, just up and down heat).
Put your mallard breasts in the second top shelf of the oven and keep a close eye on the meat.

This is what it should look like after about 10 to 15 minutes later:

Don't worry about giving it another extra 5 minutes to have that super crispy skin . Any more than this, and your meat might start to overcook. You should aim for a slight tint of pink at the center of the meat. Practice makes perfect, so don't worry if you don't get it exactly right the first time. It will still be very tasty! If unsure, you can always use a meat thermometer.
And there we have it, oven roasted Mallard Breast:

A nice shade of pink on the inside

 Super crunchy salty skin...

More food porn...

Now, something like this is meant to be the star of the dinner, so you do not want to clutter your plate with too much things. This time, I decided to prepare a simple potato and apple medley  (I will write down the recipe at a later occasion) and serve the meat with a homemade berry sauce. You can always buy a good quality cherry or wild berry jam. Just try to pick something with a sour twist to it. Also, put it in a blender and add a little boiling water to give it a more sauce like texture.

So this is the time to keep you mallard breasts somewhere warm until ready to serve.
When your done with the side dishes of your choice, cut the breast into slices and make a pretty fan shape on the plate, add the side dishes and drizzle a bit of sauce over the meat. Leave on the table for anyone to add more. 

Here's my potato and apple spicy meddley:

And at last, but not the least, the berry sauce I made. Believe it or not, it was all gone at the end of the dinner!

Raspberry & blackcurrant sauce

Bon Appetit!


  1. this looks so goooood!! now i must find mullard breast. i am waiting for the potato and apple spicy meddley recipe...

  2. Is this a mistake? 40 shekels = 10.6USD? So cheap!! Here you buy less for very much more money.

    I usually use the roasting pan to cook duck, with sauce and wine.
    This look delicious and simply and I will try it when I make duck again!

  3. No mistake, but it's not considered very cheap here either. So I'm guessing meat in Japan costs a fortune! You are officially invited to our place and have some mallard with us! ^_^

  4. Oh thank you! You are also very much invited. I am sure we have better value fish. ^0^

  5. As always, your posts are inspiring and mouth watering. Can't wait to try this.

    Would you consider, after it's been cooked in the oven, throwing it skin down for about a minute or so on a buttered iron cast frying pan, or is this pointless? What about dousing it with red wine every once in a while during its time in the oven, or does the forest-fruit sauce have all the necissary "tang"?

    Also, I think it would be interesting to try making the meddley with jerusalem artichokes.

    Thanks again for a wonderful post!

  6. Adding any moisture to the meat after it's been cooked in the oven might make the skin less crispy and also, there's the risk of overcooking (it happens very easily in liquids). What I would suggest is this: before you put you mallard breasts in the oven, cook them skin down on a hot heavy pan, until it starts to gain a nice golden color. Remove and continue cooking in the oven as above. Meanwhile, take out most of the fat that was left in the pan (you only need as much a teaspoon), add a finely chopped shallot to the hot pan, fry a couple of minutes and deglaze with your red wine. Let it reduce and pour over your mallard just before serving.
    Jerusalem artichokes sound great! Yum!