葱油拌面 (Cong You Ban Mian) is a classic, Shanghai comfort food. The signature taste comes from frying scallions until they are unrecognizable brown bits and pouring it over drained noodles. I gave it a twist: instead of frying it in vegetable oil, I fried it in duck fat, used ramen noodles, and topped it with medium-rare duck breast with crispy skin. That’s my kind of meal- Duck-Fat 葱油拌面 scallion oil noodle!!!!
Duck fat makes everything better. It just does. Similarly to how bacon grease makes everything taste better. However, duck is a special meat for me. It’s the fancy meat that I will enjoy, anywhere. I’ve gone to get whole duck meals when I spent a summer in Shanghai, probably once a week. They cook the duck for you and you eat it in mushu pancakes, then they serve a wonderful broth made from the duck bones afterwards. I salivate while I anticipate my father-in-law making his famous Nan Jing Salt Water Duck (yes, I WILL be doing a post on this later). I drag my parents to my favorite restaurant in the bay area for their roasted half-duck buns. I make an effort to reserve, a month prior, the famed whole rotisserie duck at Momofuku Ssam (which is amazing). I of course ate duck as my main entree during my first night in Paris. When it’s restaurant week, I always look for the restaurant that serves duck as part of that menu. I’ve had duck blood soup (which sounds horrible and disgusting, but is actually quite delicious). Do I have to go on?
Are you a noodle person? Because I am. And because I am, I’m going to share some AWESOME noodle recipes:
- THESE. Xi An Famous Hand Smashed Noodles by Mandy
- Lucky New Year Dumpling Noodles, because we can always use more luck!
- Hipster Lo Mein.
- My favorite dish turned to noodles
I love duck. It’s actually my favorite meat. And now, I’ve finally found fresh duck at Whole Foods. I’ve been looking for fresh duck meat for a really long time. I found whole duck at our local Foodies in the South End, but I wanted just breast or just leg. I found duck gizzards and a whole bunch of duck wings at the local Chinese grocery store (????). And then, I went on to the newly opened Whole Foods in the South End, and voila!!! Duck breast, duck leg, whole duck, AHH!!!!!! HEAVEN. I immediately put a pack of duck breast in my cart and rushed home to make this. So, my dear readers, please expect a whole slew of recipes including duck.
Does anyone else jot down future recipes to develop and test? From the vestiges of my architecture days, I always keep a little moleskin and pen handy. It’s been ingrained in me to jot down any ideas that pop up in my mind. Right now, it’s full of scribbles, possible styling ideas, and recipe ideas. Literally a page of what I want to make, test, and photograph. I’ve got milk bread, chocolate tarts, grapefruit pies, brownies, ice creams of many flavors, pork meatballs, duck duck goose, all jumbled up in my head. I can only do one or two a week, so my list just goes on and on as I get inspired and jot down more ideas. I’ll get to them all one day.
I decided to use dry ramen noodles for simplicity sake. You can use other forms of noodles if you want. Score the duck fat but be careful not to cut into the skin. The first step is the fry this, skin down, to release all the precious fat and crisp the skin. It will be finished off in the oven.
Don’t be scared to use copious amounts of scallion.
They will be come crispy and charred and full of flavor. This is the base for the sauce that you will make. Add a little bit of soy sauce, black vinegar, sugar, and a dash of white pepper to the duck-fat scallion fry and your taste buds will be bombarded with deliciousness.
And of course, thinly slice that lovely duck breast with the crispy skin and serve it with your noodles.
Oh, and if you have a second, I’d love if you could nominate my blog for Saveur’s Blog Awards! Thanks so much
- If you can’t find duck-fat, you can just use vegetable oil. The original doesn’t use duck-fat and just uses scallion to season the oil, so don’t be deterred if you can’t find fresh duck.
- If you get a particularly fatty duck, you can remove some of the oil after frying. You want to end up with about 3 tbsp oil.
- Be generous with the scallions!!
- Cooking time will vary depending on how thick your duck breast is.
RECIPE: Duck-Fat 葱油拌面 Scallion Oil Noodle
1 or 2 boneless duck breast, fast scored in criss cross with a knife
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
salt, for seasoning
freshly ground pepper, for seasoning
1|Preheat oven to 400F.
2| Heat up a skillet. Season duck with salt and freshly ground pepper. Put duck in skillet, skin side down and cook for 5 minutes, until the skin is crispy and brown.
3| Collect duck fat in a bowl and set aside. Turn breast over in pan.
4| Add soy sauce and dark brown sugar; cook for another minute. Transfer to an oven-safe dish and bake for 6-7 minutes, depending on the thickness of your duck breast. After you remove duck from oven, let it rest for 1 minute. Slice duck breast thinly and set aside.
Scallion Oil Noodles
1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/2 tbsp black vinegar
5 stalks scallion, cut very thinly in 1″ slices
2 packets dry ramen
1 dash white pepper
5|Heat up a skillet. Add in duck fat, and add in all the scallions. Fry until crispy and browned, about 5 minutes.
6| Turn off heat and stir in both types of soy sauce, brown sugar, and black vinegar. Add dash of white pepper.
7| Make ramen according to directions (or, you can also use fresh noodles), and drain.
8| Divide into two bowls, and top with scallion-sauce. Top with sliced duck breast. Stir to mix evenly, and serve hot!