Duck Breasts

I prefer duck breasts cooked quickly and separately from the rest of the body or cured in salt and served as you would serve prosciutto. To obtain 2 boneless breasts from a duck, place a whole unskinned duck on its back, with its neck end toward you, on a cutting board. Slice down the very center the full length of the bird, through the skin and flesh to the breastbone, then down along the breastbone on each side. Attached to the breastbone is a narrow strip of meat that has a tendon running through it. The breast halves will easily separate from this “tenderloin.” Bring the tip of the knife down to the wishbone, which forms an arch around the neck cavity, and cut the breast meat free from it on each side. Then, holding a breast half in one hand and the knife in the other, pull each breast half away from the rib cage, running the knife over the “tenderloin” and along the rib cage. Pull the halves out away from the body and slice them free from the wing joints. At this point you may use kitchen shears, if you prefer, to cut around the breasts to free them completely from the body. This method may be unorthodox in butchering circles, but it is easy for even the novice and eliminates the possibility of cutting into the flesh of the breast. If you’re using the rest of the duck within the day, sprinkle it with salt and return it to the refrigerator. Or wrap it well and freeze it—or store in the refrigerator for use within two days.