This is dish from Veneto. The duck should be whole, roasted and then bathed with a lively garlicky, mildly vinegary sauce. I rarely “do” whole birds and I decided to use (easily available and convenient) duck breasts instead and to cook them a la piastra, i.e. on a griddle stone. This is almost a ten minutes dish: little work & high rewards on the taste front. The sauce calls for lardo and chopped soppressa veneta, the typical salame of the part of Northern Italy. In London, it is very difficult to get hold of and I have replaced it with salame Milano, which is not totally dissimilar – Italian food purists scream now, if you wish.
This is a lovely and quick supper dish, which would go perfectly with a mount of soft, buttery polenta. In true Italian style,the sauce amounts to no more than a few, precious tablespoons.
Anatra in salsa (grilled duck with chopped salame, anchovies and garlic)
2 large duck breast, skinned and salted beforehand, 300g approx
25g lardo or unsmoked pancetta or oil or butter
half a clove of garlic
1 sage leaf
1 small sprig rosemary
30g salame Milano, finely chopped
1 large anchovy fillet preserved in oil
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
a knob of butter
Bring the meat to room temperature, if it was refrigerated.
Heat up your griddle – it must be screaming hot. I tend to give it a good half and hour on medium-low heat. Meanwhile chop together the lard, the garlic, the sage and the rosemary – this is called battuto in Italian culinary terms.
Cook the breast for three or four minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil.
The sauce: is quickly assembled: place the herby lard, the anchovy and the chopped salame in a heavy frying pan and cook very gently for about ten minutes., stirring well to dissolve the anchovy. Add the vinegar and let it bubble until it is almost evaporated. Move the pan away from the heat.
Slice the duck by the bias and add it to the sauce.
Return the pan to the heat and toss the duck slices in the garlicky sauce and bring to a lively simmer. That’s it. A little knob of butter added at the end, would add some finesse to this otherwise rather robust dish.
It is always a good idea to salt meat and fish well beforehand one wants to use them, even days before. I have actually found that pre-salting makes for tastier meat (and fish).
Adding some anchovies to a meat dishes is a typical Italian touch: they bring a nice savoury, umami note (and no, there is no any fish taste at the end)
This treatment would work also with chicken livers and pork escalops