|Stole this gorgeous pic from Laughing Duck Gardens as my duck fat disappeared before I could shoot it.|
In the month of resolutions and diet talk, I’m going to buck the trend to talk about a fat. And not just any fat. I’m going to talk about duck fat, a decadent, moan inducing substance when coupled with potatoes. Surprisingly, duck fat is supposed to have health benefits comparable to olive oil, but that’s not why I want to dedicate my first 2011 food post to it. I just want to write about it becomes duck fat brings me to a foodgasmic state every time I use it in the kitchen.
If singers and poets wrote about great food pairings instead of great couples, there would be many songs about duck fat and potatoes, a union so perfect that it makes me want to sing, moan, and cry all at once. Duck fat makes sauteed potatoes richer and silkier at the same time, making a fairly mundane dish into a moan-inducing one. Every potato has a delicate crust that yields to a soft slightly sweet center.
If you happen to run across a container of duck fat in a fancy food shop, grab it immediately! A container will not cost you more than $5, marginally more than a package of butter, but ever so much more satisfying. It will keep for over a month in the fridge. It never hurts to ask either. The butcher at Fox and Obel was more than happy to ladle me a half a pint of duck fat a few weeks ago. It looks like Crisco, white, thick, and glistening with promise.
If your local food shop is not the type to stock duck fat, there are plenty of online sources:
- D’Artagnan sells a 7 oz container for $5.99 with a wonderful challenge on the label, “Finally the “butter” that will make a real chef out of you.” Throw in some of their truffle butter and even a can of foie gras and you know you’ll have good times ahead to keep you going through winter.
- Amazon sells 6 1.5 ounce packs for $10.95 or 2 12-oz buckets for $18.18. I wouldn’t bother with the 1.5 ounce packs as you’ll probably go through all of them in one sitting.
- And if you really want to get creative and start playing around with deep frying in fat, Schiltz Foods sells big buckets of goose fat for under $10.
Duck Fat Pan Fried Potatoes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
8 Large Yukon Gold Potatoes, Peeled and Diced
1/4 cup of duck fat, with a little extra just in case
1/2 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, diced
- Peel and dice the potatoes, placing them in a bowl of cold water as you’re working to keep them from getting oxidizing. Then place the potatoes in a large pot of water and parboil them for five minutes. Begin counting the time from the moment the pot is boiling. You don’t want the potatoes to be fully cooked or they’ll fall apart when pan frying.
- Chop the parsley and garlic. Toss together in a little bowl. Set aside.
- Take out a large frying pan, or two if you need more space. You are going to want your potatoes to be all in one layer as crowding the pan will keep them from browning. Set the pan to medium high heat and add 3 tablespoons of duck fat to the pan.
- Once the fat is melted, add the potatoes, arranging them in one layer on the pan. Once they are settled, resist the temptation to fuss with them. This always brings my husband and I close to divorce every time. He just wants to be manly and assert his ownership of the potatoes. But you just need to let them brown on one side without interruption, about 3-4 minutes.
- You may want to add another tablespoon or two of fat at this point if the potatoes are beginning to stick to the bottom. Stir the potatoes gently to get the other side browned, another 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the potatoes in a large bowl, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and garlic mixture. Sprinkle a little coarse salt on top. Serve immediately.