Duck Fat Potatoes with Preserved Lemon

Posted by on Jan 23, 2014 in Dinner, Musings, Quick Meals, Recipes | 0 comments

I had the best duck fat cooked potatoes of my life around this time last year, in an out of the way café tucked into the side of the Atlas Mountains, a few hours outside of Marrakesh.

After days of eating richly spiced tagines, feather light couscous and a myriad of vegetables salads, I was surprised to find duck confit and Pommes Sarladaises on the menu of this high desert restaurant, surrounded by date palms, fruiting prickly pear cactus and massive agave plants. It was the special of the day.

I ordered it, ready for something simple and familiar after the exotic, palate-awakening flavors of Morocco. When the plate arrived, it was just that – a mahogany brown duck leg sitting on top of a heap of crisp, thinly sliced, pan-fried potatoes, flecked with emerald green slivers of parsley. No sauce. No garnish. No spices.

I cut into the duck with my knife and fork. The skin shattered perfectly with the first cut and underneath was a thin layer of fat, then the dark, moist duck meat. Three textures in one bite. Perfection.

Then, the potatoes. Crisped dark brown edges. Soft, golden brown centers. Garlicky. Crunchy bits of sea salt in each bite. Rich and sweet from the flavor of the duck fat. I ate quickly and hungrily, gnawing on the duck leg bones to get every last morsel of meat, eating every potato slice and parlsey fleck on the plate. It was the perfect interlude before my Warqa and Bastila class the next day.

I have since cooked these potatoes a million times. They are delicious with roast chicken, grilled steaks, pan-fried sausages and fried eggs. Or even as a meal on their own. I have added slivers of preserved lemon in this version, my nod to Morocco, and find that the bits of salty, lemony rind add a bright burst of flavor and zing.

(serves 4-6)

1 ½ pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, washed, halved, cut into ¼” slices
¼ cup duck fat
kosher salt
4 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
½ of a preserved lemon, pith removed, cut into thin slivers
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, thinly slivered
Fleur de sel

Pat the potatoes very dry in a towel.
Heat the duck fat in a large, heavy saute pan (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat.
Add the potatoes, spreading them out to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook, without stirring for 6-8 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the potatoes gently so you don’t break them and cook another 6-8 minutes without stirring. Repeat the process until the potatoes are tender and a rich golden brown, for a total cooking time of 25 – 30 minutes.
Add the garlic near the end of cooking and sprinkle with the kosher salt and pepper to taste.
Just before serving, scatter the preserved lemon rind and slivered parsley over the top of the potatoes and sprinkle with some fleur de sel.

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