1 boneless duck breast, about 12 oz (375 g)
⅓ cup (80 mL) finely chopped onion
⅓ cup (80 mL) diced carrot
⅓ cup (80 mL) diced celery
½ tsp (2 mL) each dried marjoram and dried rubbed sage
¼ tsp (1 mL) each allspice and salt
2–3 tbsp (30–45 mL) water
½ French baguette loaf
1 bunch fresh thyme
Pinch each salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Remove thick fat layer from duck and slice fat into strips. Place fat in a wide frying pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until fat is crispy brown and melted fat collects in pan, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, slice duck breast into strips, about ⅓ inch (8 mm) thick. Set aside.
- Remove crispy fat from pan and save for nibbling, if you like. Pour melted duck fat into a jar, leaving a generous coating in pan if continuing with recipe right away. Save fat in jar for cooking duck and for brushing on crostini. Any remaining is marvellous for sautéing potatoes.
- Return fat-coated pan to medium-low. Add chopped vegetables. Sprinkle with marjoram, sage, allspice and salt. Stir often, until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. To keep mixture moist, add 2–3 tbsp (30–45 mL) water halfway through cooking. Taste and add a little more allspice, if needed. (If making ahead, cover and leave at room temperature for a day or refrigerate overnight. Cover and refrigerate sliced duck as well.)
- To assemble appetizer, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Cut baguette into ⅓-inch (8 mm) thick slices. (You will need about 14 in total.) Place on a baking sheet and brush with melted duck fat or olive oil. Strip enough thyme leaves from stems to measure about 2 tbsp (30 mL). Scatter half over baguette slices.
- If necessary, reheat vegetable mixture in microwave. Cover to keep warm. Toast bread in oven until starting to brown around edges, 5–7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place wide frying pan over medium heat. Add enough duck fat to generously coat bottom. Lay duck slices in pan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until done as you like, 1–2 minutes per side.
- Place duck on crostini. Scoop up a scant tbsp (12 mL) of vegetable mixture using a tablespoon measure. Press mixture into measure and turn on top of duck. Press mixture together with your fingers. Repeat with remaining crostini. Sprinkle with remaining thyme leaves. Add 1 or 2 sprigs fresh thyme.