The Chef at my Bistro is very secretive about his recipes, so the recipes in this column are not his - they're mine. But, they're similar to what he serves at the in Aquebogue.
- Duck leg and thigh, one per person
- Fresh or dried herbs
- Salt, pepper
- Duck fat (we sell it in pint containers at the Bistro for a few dollars)*
- A slow-cooker (crock-pot)
* I read that duck fat is chemically similar to olive oil. If you don't have any duck fat, you could try using olive oil.
You need to start this recipe 3 days before you plan to serve it.
Salt and pepper the duck legs generously all over, then sprinkle the fresh or dried herbs generously all over. Put them into a plastic baggie, and seal tight, squeezing the air out. Or else wrap tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap. Put into the refrigerator and let sit for 3 days.
Do not omit this pre-salting and herbing step. When I made it once, without salting and herbing in advance, it just didn't turn out as good.
At the Bistro, we use duck from , a 140 acre duck farm in Aquebogue that wraps around our Bistro to the south and east. The duck farm does not actually abut the Bistro property but abuts the properties a couple hundred feet away, and I can see the duck farm from the Bistro's second story. At home, you can also use duck from Miloski's Poultry Farm in Calverton.
Take the duck legs out of the plastic and rinse off the salt, pepper and herbs. Dry them with a paper towel. (You don't want to put water in with the simmering oil/fat).
Put the duck legs into a crockpot with the duck fat or olive oil. Put in enough fat or oil to cover the duck. Turn the crockpot on low and cook all day - if you start in the morning it will be good to eat in the evening.
The slow simmering makes the duck super-tender, falling off the bone.
You can strain the duck fat, refrigerate or freeze it, and re-use it.
Serve with local North Fork potatoes, some local vegetables in Aquebogue - they have a big selection), and of course local North Fork wine! I personally think Long Island merlot goes fabulously with duck - try some merlot from my vineyard, The First Harvest Merlot is a slightly lighter merlot and would go well with the duck, but the Traditional Merlot or Hungarian Oak Merlot would go well too. It would also be good with rose, if you don't want to drink red wine.