February, when all the fun of the holiday season is over, with the end of winter still far from sight. Only two things make it better – the lengthening of the days, and the occasional remnant of Christmas spirit after a bit of snow. To bring a bit of cheer to this most tedious of months, we’ve concocted something festive for this week’s post-modern burger, the Duck à l’Orange Burger.
This burger is basically a rich, rough-cut duck patty on a corn cake, moistened with mandarine jelly, garnished with brittle mandarine caramel, crispy duck skin and butter fried sage. The salad adds additional crunch, and the tart of the physalis ties the meaty richness of the duck with the sweetness of the mandarine caramel. We had decided to swap oranges for mandarines, as they provide a lovely extra layer of fragrance.
Bun: All-purpose or multi-grain flour, corn kernels (frozen or canned), eggs, butter, milk
Duck patty: Duck breasts, flour, sage, caramelised shallots, mandarin rind
Jelly: Mandarine juice, agar agar, nutmeg
Garnish: Sage, duck skin, orange caramel, pomegranate seeds
Salad: Shaved carrots, wasabi rocket, physalis, pomegranate seeds, black salt
Bun: Mix the corn, flour and eggs. Add milk until the mixture attains a consistency you can dollop onto a pan without it going everywhere. Mine was slightly less wet than your average pancake mix, but I suppose it wouldn’t really have mattered if it was a little more or less liquid. Pour the mixture into ring moulds and fry in a pan until done.
Duck patty: Remove the skin from the breasts, and finely chop the meat. Mix with the caramelised shallots (we fried them in a pan with a teaspoon of honey), egg and flour. Fry the patty in a pan to your desired level of done-ness, again within a ring mould.
Orange jelly: We don’t usually give measurements in our recipes, but you’ll need it here – mix 200g of mandarine juice (finely sieved) with a pinch of nutmeg and 3.2g of Agar Agar, bring to a boil, constantly whisking and then pour into a shallow flat metal dish, lined with baking paper. Once the jelly sets, cut it with the same ring moulds.
Garnishing – Duck skin: The duck skin, salted generously on the top side, goes between two sheets of baking paper onto a flat oven dish. We placed another dish on top to prevent the skin from curling.
Garnishing – Butter fried sage: Fry sage in a generous amount of butter and set aside on a kitchen paper to drain.
Garnishing – Orange caramel: In a pan, boil sugar (and sugar only, no liquid) with the zest of one orange. Pour onto baking paper to set. Crush in pestle and mortar.
We assembled the burger by putting the orange jelly onto the corn bun, followed by the duck patty. To garnish, the duck skin was cut into thin strips and placed on top, with the crushed caramel. The butter sage was gently laid on top, and we threw on some pomegranates for colour and effect. As for salad, we simply mixed all ingredients with some olive oil and a sprinkle of black salt.
Why it is worth attempting: this burger was a mouth-watering mix of textures and flavours. The duck patty, with the meat having been finely chopped instead of ground in a processor, had a satisfying, rich, mouthfeel. This contrasted with the zingy mandarine jelly and the crisp bitter-sweetness of the caramel. The corn in the bun also added a good additional crunch, along with the salty, charred, duck skin. A surprise was the physalis, which has a unique tartness and texture that went really well with the entire dish.