Traditionally, we poach duck legs in duck fat, then store them in the fat to make confit. But here I poach the breasts in oil. This is a rather unorthodox way cooking duck breast, but I’ve discovered it’s the best way. Duck breast is so juicy and rosy because (and this is admittedly my theory!) ducks use those muscles to control their wings. Chickens are flightless, hence the light color of the meat in their breasts, whereas ducks fly and so have much more developed breast muscles. Duck meat has a lot of myoglobin, a protein loaded with iron. I believe that when it’s overcooked, duck meat can take on that nasty, metallic flavor I associate with awful diner plates of liver and onions.

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It occurred to me that if I cook the breast gently, controlling the temperature, I can maintain that rosy color, keep the breast juicy and delectable, and make sure it’s properly cooked. To do this, it’s important that the flesh side of the breast never directly touch the hot pan. I transfer the duck from the skin side in the hot pan directly into the infused olive oil.

This recipe appears in: Seamus Mullen’s Hero Food: How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better