Duck Confit Brioche, Air-cured Duck, Pickled Eggs, Fiddlehead Ferns, and Sea Beans

Adapted by
November 2011
Yield: 6 Servings


Air-cured Duck Breast
2 cups whole black peppercorns
½ cup whole juniper berries
½ cup sumac
1 cup whole coriander seeds
¼ cup chili flakes
1 tablespoon whole cloves
10 dried bay leaves
2 ounces curing salt
3 pounds Magret duck breasts
Pickled Eggs
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
⅛ cup sugar
1¼ tablespoons pickling spice
1 fresh bay leaf
1 cup water
3 hard boiled eggs
Duck Confit
4 ounces cracked black pepper
4 ounces chili flakes
4 ounces juniper berries, cracked
16 ounces kosher salt
5 fresh bay leaves
4 ounces fennel seeds
5 pounds fresh Magret duck legs
5 pounds duck fat
Duck Confit Bread Pudding
6 cups ½-inch fresh bread cubes, preferably brioche
½ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups half and half
4 large eggs
Duck Sauce
1 5-pound duck, neck, heart, and gizzard reserved
1 medium onion, quartered
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
6 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 cup Ruby Port
6 cups water
1 tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To Assemble and Serve
1 cup morel mushrooms, washed and cleaned
15 fiddlehead ferns, blanched
20 sea beans, blanched
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the Air-cured Duck Breast:
Grind the peppercorns, juniper berries, sumac, coriander, chili, cloves and bay leaves to fine powder in a spice mill. Add the curing salt.

Score the duck breasts in stripes on the skin side of the breasts. Rub with the spice mix and put in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 48 hours. Remove from the container and with a dry towel, remove all excess salt. Put on a resting rack in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 5 days. Remove from the fridge, cut each breast lengthwise into 3 slices, each about ¼-inch thick.

For the Pickled Eggs:
Combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, pickling spices, bay leaves, and water in a saucepot and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour the liquid into a metal or plastic container. Add the eggs and refrigerate for 48 hours. Remove the eggs from the pickling liquid and quarter.

For the Duck Confit:
Mix the pepper, chili flakes, juniper berries, salt, bay leaves, and fennel seeds together. Put the duck legs in a large plastic container and rub the pepper mixture over all legs; marinate overnight.

The next day, preheat a convection oven to 250°F. Remove the duck legs and rinse all the cure mixture from the duck legs. Put them in a large roasting pan, and cover completely with the duck fat. Cook in the oven for 4 hours. Remove the duck confit from the oven and cool. Remove all the meat from the duck legs, and save remainder of duck fat for cooking.

For the Duck Confit Bread Pudding:
Preheat a convection oven to 300°F. Butter a hotel pan. Combine the bread, parsley, garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt, and pepper. Combine the ½ pound of the duck confit, shallot, butter, half-and-half, and eggs. Add the duck confit mixture to the bread mixture and combine. Put the mixture into the greased hotel pan. Put a layer of parchment paper over the hotel pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in the oven until set. Remove from the oven and refrigerate overnight. The next day, cut the finished Bread Pudding into 2-inch x 2-inch servings.

For the Duck Sauce:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butcher the duck and roast the duck bones in a roasting pan in the oven until golden brown. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and continue roasting until they are golden brown, adding the garlic toward the end so it doesn’t burn. Put the bones and vegetables in a medium saucepot. Add the port and reduce until dry. Add water and simmer for 2 hours. Strain out the bones and vegetables. Reduce the liquid by ¾ , whisk in butter and add salt and pepper to taste. Reserve.

To Assemble and Serve:
Brown 2 cubes of the Duck Confit Bread Pudding in sauté pan on medium heat with about 3 tablespoons of the reserved duck fat from the confit process. Brown each side evenly. When brown, add the morels and fiddlehead ferns and cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Put the Air-cured Duck pieces on a warm plate. Top with the Duck Confit Bread Pudding and morel mixture. Finish with 4 tablespoons of Duck Sauce. Add the sea beans and Pickled Egg quarters to garnish.