Duck With Vietnamese Style Noodles
I’ll start off by saying this in no way is a 100% authentic to one culture recipe. I hate that I have to preface that, but some people tend to get outraged. I’ll also mention the cuisines I pulled from when making this dish. The duck is cooked in my favorite style – French, but dressed with a Cantonese style fermented black bean sauce. The rice noodles are based on a recipe I learned in Phu Quoc, Vietnam from my homestay host, although the chili is Georgian. Make of this duck with Vietnamese style noodles what you will.
The great thing about this dish is that it tastes just as delicious hot or cold. I personally prefer to eat it cold on a hot day like I would Japanese Soba, but it’s totally up to you. If you want it to be hot just know that the noodles only take a couple minutes to cook, so you can actually start boiling them after you pull the duck to rest.
Best Way To Cook Duck Breast
The best way to cook duck breast is the classical French method. To start, salt both sides of the duck and place skin side down in a cold, thick pan. Put the flame on the lowest setting to begin rendering the fat under the skin. This is the same method I use for all my duck breast recipes, like duck breast with plum sauce and my yakitori suck salad with rocket and figs.
Because the heat is low, you will render the fat from under the skin without overcooking your duck breast. This is imperative because, while some fat can remain un-rendered, too much fat makes the duck tough and unpleasant to eat.
Slowly increase the fire about 10% a minute. Once the fire is at the hottest setting, lift the meat and check the skin. If it has started to get golden and crispy then flip the duck and cook the meat for 1 minute skin side up.
Flip the duck skin side down and place in a pre-heated oven at 215 Celsius for 3 minutes. This has worked for me perfectly with my kitchen set-up, but you may need to fiddle with your settings over a few duck breasts to perfectly figure out what works for you. Pull the duck from the oven and place on a cutting board to rest for 5-6 minutes (just as you would a steak).
Vietnamese Style Rice Noodles
In a pan boil your preferred brand of rice noodles according to package instructions. Usually this takes no longer than 2-3 minutes. While boiling the noodles you can make the sauce. For two people I use 200 grams of noodles. A bit more traditional would be vermicelli, but alas I had none on hand.
In a bowl add two tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, two teaspoons of fish sauce, a teaspoon of sesame oil, three cloves of minced garlic, one finely diced chili pepper, and a teaspoon of sugar. You can adjust this sauce to taste or change ingredients as you wish.
Toss the noodles in a bowl with the sauce, and some thinly sliced red bell pepper and shallot. Taste for seasoning and make more sauce as you see fit.
So What’s The Deal With The Duck And Black Bean Sauce?
Because the noodles are tossed in such a light sauce, I wanted to do something funky for the duck. I simply whisked up a tablespoon of black bean sauce with a quarter cup of chicken stock (you can use duck stock if you want) and a teaspoon of rendered duck fat.
Finally slice you duck breast skin side down to prevent slippage. Try to go for 1/2cm slices, about 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch thick. Use a food brush to spread a very thin layer of the black bean sauce on one side of the duck. Next, just plate the noodles and place the duck slices on top for presentation.
Duck With Vietnamese Style Noodles
- 2 Duck Breasts high quality
- 200 grams Rice Noodles whatever style you prefer
- Salt for the duck
- 2 Shallots thinly sliced
- 1 Red Bell Pepper cut into thinly sliced strips
- 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice freshly squeezed
- 2 tsp Fish Sauce
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 Chili Pepper finely chopped
Black Bean Sauce
- 1 tbsp Black Bean Paste usually found in the Asian section or the condiment aisle
- 1/4 cup Chicken Stock or duck stock if you can find it
- Salt the duck breasts on both sides and place skin side down in a cold pan. Preheat your oven to 215 Celsius.
- Turn the heat on the minimum setting and slowly let the fat render out from under the duck skin. As it renders slowly increase the flame over the next 8 minutes until it is on max. Check the skin, if it is brown on the edges and golden in the center then flip the breasts and cook the meat in the rendered fat for 1 minute. Turn the meat skin side down again and place in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the breasts on a cutting board skin side up to rest.
- In a pan of boiling water add the noodles and boil according to package instructions.
- While the noodles are going mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
- Drain the noodles and place in a bowl. Pour over the sauce, add the bell pepper and shallot, and mix.
- Slice the duck skin side down in about 1/2 cm thickness. Mix the black bean sauce and use a pastry brush to smear a thin layer of black bean sauce onto the duck.
- Plate the noodles and duck slices. Garnish with cilantro or chili or whatever you feel like. Enjoy!