Now you might be saying, if you somehow managed to read through ALL of my blog posts, that I had already made something with this as the name. That was a dessert. This is a savory course. I’m allowed to have a dessert and a dish share the same name, since they can be different things. Hell, I can name a dessert and another dessert the same name. It’s my life. Bitches. My saucy sassiness aside, this is a savory dish called “it’s my life”, inspired by Koda Kumi’s song of the same name. If I had to make a meat course for a signature dish, this would have to be it. Being Asian, duh, I know how to cook duck. I know how to butcher it too, but trying to cram an entire duck into a composed dish in 45 minutes is pushing it. So I had to simplify the dish down to just the breasts.
For the actual dish, it is a seared duck breast with roasted steamed bun, green papaya ribbons, black garlic hoisin sauce, pomelo, and a duck fat-toasted almond vinaigrette. Originally, I was going to just slice the green papaya into a slaw, but upon looking at my first version of the dish, it lacked refinement and honestly looked like buffet or cafeteria food. Not at all elegant or my style.
So instead, I went with a half of a duck breast, sliced lengthwise because that looks prettier, and with the buns, I was iffy because if they are not made with yeast, they honestly aren’t as fluffy. So instead of serving a subpar bun, especially because I do want to serve a bun from scratch in 45 minutes, I decided after steaming them to toast cubes of them in the duck fat, and to use that as a sort of crouton to soak up the other flavors of the dish. Duck as an ingredient is prominent in my culture, and being someone who loves to utilize any ingredient fully, I wanted to use that beautiful fat from the duck in a vinaigrette and to toast my buns. I grew up eating pomelos whenever I would visit Taiwan, which is why I went with pomelo specifically, but grapefruit works just fine as well. Making my own buns from scratch shows my expertise in doughs, while the green papaya, well it’s Asian, I guess? I just like the crunch. It’s my life. Motherfuckers.
For the steamed buns:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch + more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons water
reserved duck fat
Combine together ingredients and form a dough. Divide into four balls and roll out on a cornstarch-lined surface into ovals that are about 1/8 inch thick. Fold in half and place on parchment paper. Steam for 16-18 minutes. Once cooled down, slice into cubes and toast in a pan with the duck fat.
For the duck breast:
Duck breasts; tenders removed
1/4 cup flaked or whole almonds
Score the duck skin and drizzle 1/2 teaspoon canola oil per duck breast. Season both the skin and flesh side with the spices and then render out the duck breasts, skin side down, from a cold pan on high heat for 7 minutes. While the duck breasts are rendering, about 3 minutes in, add in the almonds to the pan to toast them. Pour out any rendered duck fat and the toasted almonds, straining out the almonds and leaving them to dry on a towel, flip the breasts to sear them on the flesh side for 1 minute, then flip back to skin side and bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, with two cloves of peeled black garlic. Rest for at least 5-8 minutes before slicing.
For the duck fat vinaigrette:
Reserved duck fat
Make an even ratio of fat to pomelo juice and season with salt.
For the salad:
Duck fat toasted almonds
1 green papaya
Peel and thinly shave the green papaya. Peel the pomelo skin and julienne. Segment the pomelo and slice up the segments. For every 1 cup of green papaya, have 1/2 cup pomelo, and 1/4 cup almonds, and 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette. Toss everything together. Roll up the green papaya into ribbons after it has time to soften in the vinaigrette.
For the black garlic sauce:
2 roasted black garlic cloves
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
Puree ingredients together. Strain. Reduce on low heat until thickened.