A couple of decades ago, a customer of mine said something that I have reflected upon over the years. He meant it as a complement and despite my being a little upset about it at the time, I have grown to accept that it was, and is, a good thing. What did he say? “I love dealing with Conor, he doesn’t know how to tell a lie. He is totally transparent.” The thought of being completely readable and open really didn’t appeal to the younger me. But, I am who I am and at this stage, I probably won’t try to make too many changes. I was put in mind of all this as I prepared my Duck with Ginger and Honey Sauce.
In the interest of transparency, here’s the ingredients list for this delicious dish.
- 4 duck breasts
- 2 teaspoons of Sichuan peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons of quality honey
- 5cm piece of root ginger
- 1 teaspoon of corn flour (arrowroot) diluted in half a cup of water
- Salt and pepper
- 16 or so apricots to accompany
- Rice to serve
Set the rice to cook, as this dish doesn’t take long and timing, like transparency, is everything. Dry fry the peppercorns until they start to turn a nice dark brown.
Don’t let them burn. Crush them to a fine powder. Cut slashes through the fat on the duck breasts. Rub the duck breasts with the peppercorn dust. Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper. Half the apricots and remove the stones. Heat a griddle pan. Fry the apricots until they get nice and soft but not mushy. This takes practice and depends a lot on how ripe they are to start.
Peel and roughly chop the ginger. Add it, the cornflour mixture and the honey to a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil.
Heat a frying pan and fry the duck breasts, skin side down for about 5 minutes. Turn them and fry for a further 3 minutes. We don’t want to overcook the duck breasts.
Let the breasts rest for about 5 minutes before slicing. While they are resting, your sauce should be clarifying and becoming transparent (just like this cook).
Using a sharp knife, slice the duck breasts.
Arrange the duck and rice on a plate. Spoon the translucent sauce over the duck.
The tart apricots, numbing peppercorns, hot ginger and sweet honey work really well with the duck. This is clearly a tasty recipe. I don’t think I can be any clearer. I know you would see through me if I tried to lie.