Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Project Cookbook: Seared Duck, Pickled Greens and Cilantro over Fresh Noodles

I made this dish and even wrote the post in January, but am finally just posting it now, four months later! I have a few catch up posts, with not-so-beautiful winter photography and then I can get caught up with what we've currently been cooking!

I love taking cooking classes at PCC, our local community co-op grocery store. I have a nice packet of recipes from every class I’ve taken and each of these packets gets jammed on my shelf along with all my cookbooks. So as part of my cookbook project, I’m also going to cook a recipe from each of the classes I’ve taken at PCC. After all, most of these classes cost more than any cookbook I own and why wouldn’t I recreate all the awesome recipes I learned how to make first hand?

This duck recipe is from a class that was titled Night Markets of Bangkok, taught by Becky Selengut. Becky rocks! This is the second class I’ve taken from her; she’s very funny, a great cook and excellent teacher. She designed this class around all her favorite street foods she experienced when traveling in Thailand. Plus as I was preparing the duck recipe, I e-mailed her with a question and she got right back to me. How’s that for personal service?

If you’re not a duck person, all the flavors in this dish would work just fine with chicken! My first go at this wasn’t perfect. I was afraid of blackening the paste on the duck and over cautiously kept the heat down low which meant the duck skin didn’t get as crispy as I wanted. But as Curtis keeps saying, “oh well, guess you’re going to have to try to make it again!”

Kaho Soy Noodles with Seared Duck, Pickled Mustard Greens and Cilantro
Recipe by Chef Becky Selengut,
Serves 4

Pickled Green – to be made one day in advance: To make the mustard greens (or any kind of greens, such as kale): blanch the leaves in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze out all the water and chop into thin, bite size pieces. Place in a large glass jar and pour seasoned rice vinegar over the top to cover the greens. Place in the fridge overnight and serve the next day as a garnish to your duck dish.

4 duck breasts, about ¼ lb. each, fat scored
2 tablespoons Thai Kitchen roasted red chili paste (or use more for a stronger, spicier flavor)
1 tablespoon ghee
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
14-ounce can coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock (Imagine Chicken stock is Becky’s favorite brand, I use Kirkland Signature)
2 limes, one juiced to season the curry, the other cut in wedges for garnish
2 teaspoons fish sauce, or more to taste
1 pound fresh noodles (I made homemade basil fettuccine, but if you’re going with store bought, Becky recommended Cucina Fresca brand)
1 tablespoon salt
2 bunches greens, pickled one day ahead
1 small shallot, sliced paper thin
1 bunch cilantro

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil

2. Prepare the Duck. Score the fat side of the duck into a grid pattern. Rub 1 tablespoon of the curry paste all over the duck breasts. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the ghee and when hot, add the duck breats fat-side down. Turn the heat down to medium-low and render the fat out of the duck breasts until you can see only a thin sliver of fat on the breasts and you’ve developed a nice crust, about 10 minutes. Turn the breasts over and cook for 2 to 3 minutes only on the flesh side for a medium-rare breast. Remove to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Let it rest for 10 minutes.

3. Prepare the Curry. In the same pan that you cooked the duck, add the remaining curry paste and cook until it turns a nice dark rust color, about 2 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook 30 seconds, then add the coconut milk and stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the curry flavor with some lime juice and fish sauce. Slice the duck into thin slices. Add any duck juices that remain on the board to the curry. Keep the duck warm.

4. Cook the noodles. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the boiling water. Boil the noodles for 3 to 4 minutes until tender – don’t overcook!

5. Assemble the dish and garnishes. Add the cooked noodles to the curry. Arrange the duck, mustard greens, shallot, cilantro and lime on a plate (I also included a little pile of kimchi). Serve immediately.

6. Wine. Becky paired this dish with Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica Riesling. We did the same when we made it at home and it complements the duck and Thai flavors very well!

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To ensure we were getting all the nutrients we needed, we also had a yummy superfoods salad on the side.

Recipe #3 from Project Cookbook: My 2012 New Year’s Resolution to cook at least one recipe from every cookbook I own.


  1. Becky is Ellen and she was hilarious! I want to take another class like that again -- it was adventurous for me. Good for you for trying the duck again! I have to admit, I had to read that wine label twice... ;)

  2. Mmm! That sounds amazing! (I also love how you just casually throw in that you made homemade basil fettucine...)