Art Smith is back on Top Chef Masters! He’s skinnier and he’s definitely sassier. But it wasn’t just for that reason that we chose to make his and chef Lorena Garcia’s duck lettuce wraps with corn salsa and peach ricotta creme (original recipe here). We made them because it looked delicious. Sounds fancy, but this is absolutely a meal you (yes you!) can make on a weeknight and make your Wednesday (or Tuesday or Thursday) gourmet. Here’s how:
Gather your ingredients.
For the duck
2 duck breasts with skin
1/8 tsp cayenne powder
1/8 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder (more if you like heat)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup self-rising flour*
High heat oil for frying
1 head Butter lettuce
*NOTE: If you don’t have self-rising flour you can make your own. For every one cup of flour add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt.
For the peach and corn salsa
2 ears of corn, cut off the cob (or two cups frozen corn, if you can’t find fresh)
1 shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TB fresh ginger, minced (or 1 tsp dried ginger)
1/4 cup tomatoes, diced
3 TB cilantro, chopped
1 peach, pitted and finely chopped
1 lemon, juiced
For the peach ricotta creme
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp each Aleppo pepper, dried chili powder and chipotle chili powder (more if you like spicy, less if you don’t)
1/4 cup ricotta
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 peach, pitted and rough chopped
1 tsp. buttermilk
Salt and pepper, to taste
To make the peach ricotta creme:
Add all ingredients together in a blender and puree.
To make the salsa:
Take the corn off the cob. Here’s a trick: Put a small bowl upside down inside a larger bowl, rest the corn cob on the small bowl and cut carefully down the cob so the kernels fall into the larger bowl.
Combine the corn, shallot, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, cilantro and peaches in a saute pan with a splash of oil. When corn is cooked through add lemon juice to taste (may not need the juice from whole lemon).
To make the duck:
Sprinkle the duck breasts with garlic and chili powder and soak duck in buttermilk. Heat oil in deep skillet (heat to approximately 350 degrees F). Mix the spices with the flour and, when the oil is ready, coat the duck on all sides with the spiced flour and fry in the oil until deep golden brown (8-10 minutes). When the duck is finished, remove from oil and let it rest on a cutting board. Lay out the lettuce leaves and construct your wraps. Dinner is served!
Lettuce wraps are often a go-to quick dinner in our household. Adding crispy fried duck breast to plain old lettuce really launches dinner into the indulgent zone. The salsa was really good, but a little bit too sweet and the tomatoes kind of melted into almost a sauce. Next time we make this, we’d replace the tomatoes with finely diced red peppers. We’d also cut down on the amount of sauce made (cut the recipe in half). When we tasted it alone, it was like a weirdly sweet and salty peach smoothie, but when drizzled on the lettuce wraps, it was a nice sweet/tart/salty complement.
Would we make this again? Yes, it’s actually a great (and not *super* unhealthy) weeknight dinner. It only took about an hour to make, start to finish.
Soundtrack: Quietdrive and more.
Who’s your favorite to win on this season of Top Chef Masters?!?