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Feb 13, 2007 06:41 AM

Duck Confit - too salty

Can y'all help me troubleshoot my duck confit.

I made a batch the other day and it was way too salty. It sat on the salt rub/cure for two days. The result is too salty to enjoy and maybe too salty to even bother with.

A few questions:

1) What can I do with these salty duck legs?

2) Is the saltiness a result more of the quantity of salt or the time it spent curing?


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  1. I use roughly 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of duck, rubbed in, refrigerated overnight. The next day I rinse the legs, then cook them. (This is Judy Rodgers' technique as described in The Zuni Cafe Cookbook, but I use less salt than she calls for.)

    Try using the too-salty legs to make stock. I would add carrots, celery, lots of ginger, and some Shaoxing wine.

    I think the saltiness comes from too much salt, not too much time.

    1. You could pick it and turn it into rillettes. Served with a spicy lettuce and high acid vinaigrette, it might cut the salt a bit.

      1. Sorry about your salty legs, yehudimenuhin- homemade confit is really one of life's pleasures- don't give up!

        Though my last batch of confit was distinctly salted, I would not say it was salty. I am a very heavy curing salter and I went for a full three day cure. Did you rinse the legs before poaching them? When you cooked 'em up to eat, did you add more salt as a reflex?
        One of the other things I do for my confit is let it mellow- I kept my greedy paws off the confit I made just after thanksgiving until Christmas. Though my understanding of chemistry doesnt really explain why it should be so, I find older confit more of a deep blended flavor.
        As to your predicament as to what to do with what you've got, I love Michael Rodriguez's suggestion to make a Chinese style broth- if the legs are really salty, blanch them in plain water first for 10 minutes, then make make your stock iwith a new batch of water.
        If the salt is just past manageable, shredding the meat into smaller bites will certainly lessen it impact, especially if the shreds are incorporated into an otherwishe milder dish- traditional things like cassoulet benefit from overly seasoned ingredients so you don't have to season the final product as much. Any number of other bean dishes would benefit, too. I would suggest thinking of your salty duck as a substitute for bacon or for anchovies- the salad, vegetable, and garnishing possibilities multiply rapidly.
        Shred on your eggs!
        Mix into cheese and roasted peppers for a quesedilla!

        OK, now I want to make some more confit...

        1. Thanks.

          I like the rillette recommendation. I already have tons of duck stock, but don't often have rillettes.

          1 Reply
          1. re: yehudimenuhin

            I was thinking, the resulting rillettes could still be too salty...if so, maybe you could blanch the shredded meat briefly before warming it up in a pan with some fat to get it to your desired texture again.
            This may seem silly, but if it's too salty to eat otherwise, I think it may work to alleviate the salt...

          2. I made belly pork confit last year and also ended up with overly salty confit. In my case I should have rinsed off the salt before cooking, I think that's all it needed. It's still under its blanket of fat but I pull a few pieces out occasionally to add to soups and stews where it adds its deliciousness without the salt being noticeable.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cheryl_h

              I had the same problem the first time I made duck confit - wiped off the salt with a paper towel, when I should have rinsed the legs thoroughly. They came out way too salty! Now I know.