“Probably best to have a more private discussion,” said Armand, leading him into the kitchen where he sliced fresh bread from Sarah’s boulangerie and Gélinas helped him grill sandwiches of Brome Lake duck, brie and fig confit.
A Great Reckoning
Makes 2 servings
For the Fig Confit
- 1 cup dried Turkish figs, finely chopped
- ½ cup dry red wine
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
For the Seared Duck and Sandwich Assembly
- 1 boneless, skin-on duck breast
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices sourdough bread
- 2 teaspoons softened butter
- ¼ – ½ cup baby arugula
- ¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted coarsely chopped
- 2 ounces Brie cheese, sliced
- Prepare the fig confit: In a 1 1/2-quart saucepan, mix together all of the ingredients and bring the liquid up to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Remove lid and continue to gently simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally to ensure that nothing is sticking to the sides or bottom of the pan, until the excess liquid has evaporated and mixture has thickened like jam. Cool completely before use. The confit may be made 5 days ahead and chilled, covered.
- Sear the duck breast: Rinse the duck breast thoroughly under cool water and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the meat on a cutting board with the skin side facing up. Use a sharp to knife score the skin and underlying fat in a checkerboard pattern, being careful not to cut all the way though to the meat. This will help ensure that the fat can render out properly and render the skin perfectly crisp. Season all sides thoroughly with salt and black pepper.
- Set a large, heavy skillet over high heat and allow it get very hot before placing the duck breast in the center, skin side down. Turn down the heat to medium and allow the meat to cook undisturbed for 8 – 10 minutes, to ensure an even sear. Use tongs to carefully flip the meat, cooking for an additional 5 – 6 minutes on the opposite side. Once crisp and golden all over, remove the meat from the pan, letting rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing thinly. The meat should remain light pink inside.
- To assemble the sandwich: Place a large skillet or grill pan over moderate heat. Meanwhile, spread 1/2 teaspoon butter each on 2 slices of bread. Place the buttered sides down in the pan and quickly top with an even layer of fig confit, Brie, olives, arugula, and sliced duck. Divide the remaining butter between the two remaining slices of bread, placing the butter sides facing up. Apply gently pressure to bring the sandwich together. Once the brie begins to melt and the bottom slice of bread is evenly browned, carefully flip the sandwiches. Toast the opposite side to your desired shade of brown, continuing to press lightly as they cool.
- Remove from the heat, slice in half, and serve immediately.