Smoking imparts a delicious flavour that enhances any meat. Set your exhaust fan on high and open all the windows, or you can do the smoking on a barbecue outside. The duck here is quick-cured and hot-smoked, and best eaten within a week. Start this a day ahead to prepare the duck and pickled grapes.
- 4 duck breasts (about 180gm each)
- 60 gm (¼ cup) fine sea salt
- 20 gm caster sugar
- 1 tsp chopped thyme
- 1 juniper berry, coarsely crushed
- Small handful of smoking woodchips, such as hickory
- To serve: frisée leaves dressed with white wine vinaigrette, and toasted walnuts
- 150 ml white wine vinegar
- 50 ml red wine vinegar
- 150 gm caster sugar
- 2 juniper berries
- 500 gm red seedless grapes
- 1Place duck in a non-reactive container with salt, sugar, thyme, juniper berry and cracked black pepper to taste, turn to coat, then refrigerate to cure (at least 6 hours or overnight).
- 2Meanwhile, for pickled grapes, bring vinegars, sugar and juniper berries to a simmer in a saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar (5 minutes). Place grapes in a sterilised 600ml jar, pour on hot pickling liquid, seal and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Pickled grapes will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.
- 3Rinse duck under cold running water, pat dry with paper towels, then place on a wire rack that will fit into a wok. Line the base of a wok with foil, then spread woodchips over foil to cover base and heat over high heat until smoking. Place rack of duck on top, cover wok tightly with a lid or foil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes (you should start to hear duck fat dripping onto the foil; this may take longer if the rack is placed high). Remove wok from heat and set aside, still covered, to smoke with residual heat until duck is cooked to your liking (5 minutes for medium-rare). Remove foil, allow duck to cool, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to chill (around 4 hours).
- 4To serve, slice chilled duck very thinly and arrange on a platter with frisée salad, toasted walnuts and pickled grapes.
Drink Suggestion: Juicy young pinot noir. Drink suggestion by Max Allen