These delicious duck crostinis are the perfect snack or appetizer over the Christmas period. You can make most of the components in advance, which means more time for chatting, eating & drinking amongst friends and family. What's more, the duck breast can be served cold making it a delicious cold duck appetizer too!
WHY I LOVE THESE SIMPLE DUCK BITES
They are ticking all the boxes, crunchy texture from the crostini, delicious creaminess from the goats cheese mousse, yummy perfectly cooked duck breast, acidity and fruitiness from the cherries and finished with lovely toasted hazelnuts. Oh, and let's not forget about the wine pairing - perfect for celebrating over the Christmas period. Read on and discover my tips on cooking duck breast and why these are the perfect duck appetizers for your celebration!
HOW TO COOK DUCK BREAST
It's easier than you think! The key is patience. Usually, when cooking meat, we apply the hot & fast method where we add it to a hot pan, sear it hard and cook it fast. With duck, it's about time and patience. You can't rush it! Follow these simple steps when cooking duck breast, and you will have perfectly cooked duck ready to whip up these delicious duck crostinis.
- Score the breast - I do this in a criss-cross pattern. Make sure you don't cut all the way down to the flesh. The skin is there to protect the breast meat.
- Season generously. Add plenty of salt to both sides and let her sit for at least 30 minutes before cooking. NO OIL necessary!
- Set the oven to 180c
- Cook it in a cold pan on a low heat
- Let the fat render - leave the duck skin side down in the pan for about 6-8 minutes, this will allow the fat to render out whilst cooking the duck slowly.
- Flip & sear the meat side for a minute or 2
- Place on a wire rack and roast in the oven for a further 2-4 minutes or until it reaches 52c internal temp.
- REST - this is crucial to success. Rest the meat lightly covered for 8-10 minutes before slicing
If you follow these simple steps, you will be well on your way to cooking duck perfectly every time and having delicious duck crostinis for everyone to enjoy!
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE CROSTINI
These little guys are great for this duck appetizer but also for many other dishes you might eat over the holiday period. Check out my gin & beet cured salmon dish, maybe with a delicious meat & cheese platter or with my spicy beetroot hummus recipe too! These can all be made in advance - they will last a day or two at their best and literally costs a couple dollars to make!
So how do I make crostini then? Simple - you need 3 ingredients. A baguette, salt & olive oil. You need 5 "tools" - a bread knife, chopping board, pastry brush, oven & baking tray. Yes, you can start to get fancy and rub rosemary, thyme, garlic or even raw tomato on the bread but let's keep it simple this time around.
- Slice the bread into about 1cm thick slices. At an angle looks prettier but straight across will give you more slices!
- Using a pastry brush, gently brush both sides of the bread.
- Place onto a baking tray and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
- Bake @180c in the oven for 5 minutes, flip and bake for a further 3 minutes.
- The crostinis should be hard, hollow-sounding and lightly browned in colour.
- Once cooled, store in an airtight container until ready to eat
GOATS CHEESE MOUSSE
Quick & simple to make - a great way to stretch the goats cheese too when feeding the masses! Personally, I am a HUGE fan of goats cheese. Simply spread on some crusty bread and a glass of sparkling wine and I am sorted. But, others can find it quite full flavoured. That's why for this recipe we soften it up by mixing it with some whipped cream and making a mousse.
Literally, take your goats cheese, whisk it with a splash of milk until it's smooth and then fold in some whipped cream until it's all incorporated. Store it in the fridge until you are ready to get stuck in. If you want to be extra fancy or make your life easier later, then add the mousse to a piping back, and you can speed up the serving process later!
In season right now here in Australia and boy are they delicious! If you have a cherry pitter then lucky you as this will take you moments. If like me you don't then cut these guys in half and using a spoon you can gently remove the stone in the center. Marinade them in a little olive oil, delicious balsamic vinegar, salt/pepper & a sprinkle of thyme.
I would recommend lining the tray before putting them on it (makes clean up easier) and bake them in the oven @ 180c for 8-10 minutes. The cherries can be made in advance and eaten cold, or you can reheat them in the oven for a quick minute before serving. Enjoy!
What's the perfect pairing when you are having some canapes? Sparkling wine, of course!! These duck crostinis require a little fuller style of bubbles, so we have gone with the delicious Moores Hill Blanc de Noir. This wine is simply a cracker! Blanc de Noir is a sparkling wine made using only red grapes. The direct translation is "white of blacks", and in this case, the guys over at Moores Hill have used Pinot Noir from their sister vineyard at Swan Bay. It's made using the traditional method - like they use to make champagne and is simply delicious!
My descriptor when I first drank this wine just over a year ago was "fresh on the nose with notes of strawberries, cream, spice and a touch of honey too. The palate offers similar notes with a dry but delicious finish" I described it as "one I'd enjoy again and perfect with food" and here I am pairing it to my delicious duck crostinis recipe!
I can't recommend grabbing some of this for over the holiday period and to be honest for any other time you are having a gathering or would like some bubbles with a little more body to it. Head on over to the Moores Hill site, sign up to their wine club and tell Fiona I said hi!
OTHER DUCK RECIPES
Inspired by my delicious duck crostinis and looking for other ways to cook duck breast then check out these other recipes I have created below!
Happy Cooking & Happy Eating Friends!
- 2 duck breast
- 1 tbsp thyme extra for garnish
- 24 slices baguette
- 24 cherries approx 200g
- 200 g goats cheese
- 100 ml cream
- 4 tbsp milk
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 50 g hazelnuts
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- Slice the baguette into 24 slices. Using a pastry brush rub each side of the crostini with the remaining oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt
- Place in a baking tray and cook in the oven @ 180c for 5 minutes, flip and cook for a further 3-5 minutes until crispy (crostini can be made well in advance).
- Slice duck skin at an angle with a sharp knife, being careful not to cut through to the flesh
- Season ducks generously with salt (no oil is necessary)
- Place duck skin side down into a cold pan on low heat setting. Cook undisturbed for 8 minutes.
- Flip the duck, cook for 2 minutes flesh side down
- Place the duck on a wire rack on a baking tray skin side up and cook for a further 3-4 minutes or until internal temp is 52c
- Reserve rendered duck fat from the frying pan for some epic roast potatoes another time ?
- Rest duck for 8-10 minutes before slicing each breast into 12 thin slices
- Remove the seeds from the cherries using a cherry pitter (see notes if you don’t have a pitter).
- Slice in ½ and toss cherries in 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic & 1 tbsp chopped thyme
- Place on a lined baking tray and roast @ 180c for 6-8 minutes
- Lightly toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan for 1-2 minutes
- Remove and chop
Goats Cheese Mousse
- Mix goats cheese & milk together until smooth
- Whip the cream to soft peaks and stir into the goats cheese mixture
- Place a spoon of goats cheese mousse on the crostini, top with some cherries, a slice of duck breast and sprinkle of hazelnuts
- Try not to eat them all before your guests get a chance to ?
- frying pan
- baking tray x 2
- wire rack
- mixing bowl x 3
- chef knives
- chopping board
- measuring utensils
- if you don’t have a cherry pitter you can chop the cherries in ½ and use a knife/spoon to pick out the stone. A pitter will save you a good amount of time but I used the other method and it took about 5 minutes to do
- we cook the duck on a low heat to render out the fat from the skin, this gives us a deliciously crispy skin and non-fatty duck
- resting the duck is HUGELY important, if you don’t rest it for long enough the juices won’t redistribute and you will have a pool of juice everywhere and dry duck!