These duck lettuce wraps are somewhat similar to mandarin pancakes with peking duck, but a lot less work to make (and a lot lower on carbs, if that matters to you). The crunchy lettuce with the flavorful filling has a great balance between flavors. My friend Melvin made this with chicken thigh, and I thought it would also be great with duck. Here is my version.
For 2 servings as a main course or 4-6 servings as an appetizer
a whole duck breast (2 halves), about 400 grams (.9 lbs)
12-16 lettuce leaves, washed
a handful of diced carrot, about 50 grams
a handful of diced cucumber, about 50 grams
3 scallions/green onions, sliced
1 small onion, minced, about 50 grams
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp minced ginger root
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp sesame oil
4 Tbsp oyster sauce
hoisin sauce, for serving
light soy sauce, to taste
freshly ground white pepper
Take the skin off the duck breast.
Put the skin in a frying pan over medium-high heat…
…until at least 3 tablespoons of fat has rendered from the skin. Then discard the skin. We will use the rendered duck fat to cook the duck meat, which will add more duck flavor to the dish.
(Alternatively, you could slice the skin into small pieces, crisp those up, and leave them in the dish.)
While the fat is rendering from the duck skin, chop the duck meat with a knife. (You could also use a meat grinder, but the hand-chopped meat leaves more texture.)
Prepare the vegetables and aromatics.
Add the onion, shilli, and ginger to the frying pan with the rendered duck fat.
Stir over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Then add the garlic and the five spice, and stir for another minute, making sure that the garlic doesn’t turn brown.
Add the duck meat.
Stir-fry until the duck meat has lost its raw color. Then add a good glug of oyster sauce, about 4 tablespoons.
Stir over low heat until well mixed, then turn off the heat to prevent overcooking the duck. Taste and adjust the seasoning with light soy sauce.
You can serve the carrots, cucumber, and scallions on the side, or mix them in.
If mixing in, add the carrots first, stir, and then add the cucumber and scallions.
Serve the duck mixture with lettuce leaves and hoisin sauce.
Take a leave of lettuce, add some hoisin sauce, and then add some of the duck mixture. Roll up and enjoy!
This is great with a medium-bodied Zinfandel or Primitivo, because of the sweetness from the hoisin and oyster sauce.
This is how sea bream (daurade) was served to us in Corsica: cooked in the oven with some colorful vegetables.