How in the heck do you use a duck press?

March 31, 2011

I saw a funny tool at a kitchen store the other day. It was marked “Duck Press,” and I assumed it was some kind of old-fashioned tool used to squeeze out more fat from duck skin or something like that. Reasonable assumption, I thought.

In an effort to find the “real” answer (or maybe in part to congratulate myself for having such finely-honed deductive powers!) I did some research, and found I was grossly (emphasis on the ‘gross’ part) mistaken.

It’s called the Presse a canard, and it is an indispensable tool needed to prepare le canard à la presse, also known as canard rouennaise, made famous by La Tour d’Argent, a Parisian restaurant open since the 16th century. After a little research, however, I feel a little unsure that I will one day try this well-known delicacy, said by many to be one of the finest duck preparations in the world.

In a nutshell, the chef strangles a live duck to death, so that it doesn’t lose its blood. Next, the whole duck is roasted to medium rare. The rest of the show takes place at the diners’ table.

Tableside, the chef removes the duck’s skin, the legs, the breasts (magrets), and the liver. The liver is then liquefied in a mixer, and the resulting puree placed on a large metal dish over a flame to reduce. It will be one of the most important ingredients for flavor and texture in the sauce.

Next, the duck carcass goes into the press, and the waiter duly applies pressure by turning the crank, extracting the remaining blood, marrow, and other juices. The waiter adds a little consomme to the press to help get more liquefied bang for the proverbial duck-buck. Then, the waiter combines this bloody mess with the aforementioned liver puree, and the mixture is heated for a while (being careful not to simmer, since the blood would coagulate!), with a bit of cognac.

A quick pass through a fine chinois, some more time over the flame for the sauce to reduce, and the resulting product is a blackish, heavy sauce which is served over the magrets and which reportedly (and unsurprisingly) has an unforgettable texture or taste.

I couldn’t make this stuff up—here are a couple of links for your own research pleasure:

Last but not least, and even more illustrative, a video. You’re welcome.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

One Response to “How in the heck do you use a duck press?”

  1. […] yesterday’s gruesome fowl-related post, today I thought it would be nice to share something more uplifting in relation to our feathered […]

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