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Duck Breast...Cold Pan Method...

Phoebe Mar 10, 2012 04:18 PM

While searching for a different way to cook duck breast, I came across a recipe that says to start with a cold pan. Do not pre heat pan. Place breast side down, and once you hear sizzling, start timing for 5 minutes. Sear other side for 2-3 minutes. Flip to skin side and place in a 200* oven for 5 to 8 minutes. I've seen several posts using this "cold pan method". Supposedly, it renders more of the fat out, and results in a crispier skin. Any truth to it? If anyone knows...it's here on Chowhound!!! Also, please be specific on timing if this is the method you've used. Thanks for your advice.

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    darrentran87 RE: Phoebe Mar 11, 2012 11:17 PM

    This is how I do it. Well, I don't even bother with the oven. I cook it for prob 75% of the time skin side down, then 25% of it skin side up to sear the other side and it always comes out a perfect medium. I don't know if it crisps the skin better, but it definitely renders out more fat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: darrentran87
      Phoebe RE: darrentran87 Mar 12, 2012 10:33 AM

      Would you please estimate the total cooking time for this. (I do realize it will vary depending on the breast size.) Thanks!

    2. sunshine842 RE: Phoebe Mar 12, 2012 10:49 AM

      I use Madeline Kamman's method from "Making of a Cook" -- roughly! -- put the seasoned breasts (scored) skin side down in a large saute pan and add water to reach half the height of the fat layer.

      Over medium heat, bring to a simmer until the water is evaporated (you'll hear the difference in the sound of the simmer) -- pour off all but a tablespoon or so of the fat (keep it! don't you DARE throw it away!) -- and let the breasts brown well in the reserved fat. (still skin-side down)

      Turn and brown on the other side until done to your preference.

      I occasionally then deglaze with a shot of something nice - cognac, Grand Marnier, etc., then slice and serve.

      3 Replies
      1. re: sunshine842
        Phoebe RE: sunshine842 Mar 12, 2012 12:20 PM

        Does this result in a crispy skin for the breast? Adding water would seem to be more of a steaming method that would produce a "soggy" skin. I do plan on using your suggestion of using Grand Marnier to make the sauce. Thanks!

        1. re: Phoebe
          sunshine842 RE: Phoebe Mar 12, 2012 01:47 PM

          It comes out golden brown and crispy every time -- the water just makes it so you don't burn the fat while you're waiting for the filet to cook -- the fat insulates the meat and slows down the cooking process--remember that you're simmering the water away, then continuing to brown the skin before turning and browning the filet side.

          You might want to see if you can borrow the book from the library or pick up a used copy somewhere -- it's a fabulous book, but I just didn't have the room for it when we moved a few years ago.

          1. re: sunshine842
            Phoebe RE: sunshine842 Mar 12, 2012 04:06 PM

            I will make a trip to the library and see if they have this book. Thanks for the info.

      2. Caitlin McGrath RE: Phoebe Mar 12, 2012 11:07 AM

        For me, it's not so much starting with a cold pan, but keeping the pan at a moderate heat, rather than medium-high as many recipes suggest. Like the first respondent, I cook it slowly (scored) skin side down for most of the time, until most of the fat has rendered out, then flip it to cook the flesh side for just a few minutes. I turned to this method, vs. a few minutes on the stove and the rest in the oven because it cooks out more fat and makes for crispier skin. It's hard to give a particular time estimate, but I'd say about 15 minutes total (remember, at moderate heat).

        1 Reply
        1. re: Caitlin McGrath
          Phoebe RE: Caitlin McGrath Mar 12, 2012 12:29 PM

          I puchased several duck breasts from D'Artagnan's...so I can "experiment" a few different ways. For my first attempt, I will skip putting them in the oven and use your estimate of 15 minutes. My main goal is to render out as much fat as possible and end up with a crispy skin. I've cooked over 40 "whole" ducks in my lifetime, but....duck breasts are new to me.

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