Ananas, masculine noun (l’ananas, un ananas, des ananas) = pineapple (pronounced a-na-nasse, you say the s for once!, but only in the singular. Then again, in certain regions, they don’t say the s. In the plural, you don’t hear the s any longer anywhere).
Pronunciation: a word about “liaison”: la liaison is when you run one word into another, as here, un ananas, you join the n of un to the a of ananas, and the s of des into the a of ananas in the plural. The rule is roughly that when a noun begins with a vowel, you run the consonant into the vowel. For example: deux beaux ananas, two lovely pineapples, you run the x of beaux into the a of ananas, to make deu bozanana.
My recipe for today is magret de canard froid à l’ananas confit (cold duck breast with caramelized pineapple). Very often, a duck breast (magret) is so enormous, that it is too much for one meal. You can eat one half hot, and the other cold. But you can also cook duck breast ahead of time, chill it in the fridge, and slice it for a cold meal, picnic or lunchbox. To use cold, duck really needs to be nice and pink inside, or it will just be dull and dry.
For 4 people you will need:
- 2 good sized duck breasts
- 4 thick slices of fresh ripe pineapple
- 1 tbs acacia or other runny honey
- 6cl (half a glass) of dry white wine
- Butter, salt, pepper, vinegar
- 2 green bell peppers (poivrons verts)
- Do not score the duck breasts for this recipe, so that you can make neat slices across the width when it is cold. Pat the duck breasts with kitchen paper to remove all moisture. Season on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Heat a heavy bottomed frying pan so that it is really quite hot and put the duck breasts to cook, skin side down to begin with. Fry for about 4 minutes, pressing down with a spatula to make sure all the surface of the skin is in contact with the pan. Pour off the excess duck fat as it melts. When the skin is nice and crispy and the layer of fat under the skin has melted to a certain extent, turn and cook the other side for about 3 or 4 minutes depending on the thickness of the duck breast. Remove from the pan and place on a plate to cool before putting in the fridge.
- Peel, slice and core a fresh pineapple, cut into generous chunks and keep all the juice that runs off.
- In a non stick frying pan, melt some butter, and fry the pineapple gently. Add 1tbs acacia (or other runny) honey and a tbs of your preferred vinegar (but not balsamic which will discolour the pineapple and make it look unappetizing). Salt lightly, and add any pineapple juice and half a glass of white wine. Cook quite briskly until the pineapple is tender and the liquid has boiled down to a coating syrup. Remove from the pan into a bowl, cool and refrigerate.
- To serve, place the duck breast flat on a chopping board, skin side up. With a very sharp knife, cut slices on the diagonal (as in the picture above) about 1/4 inch thick. Overlap half a dozen slices on each plate. Toss the pineapple in the juices to glaze. Place a heaped spoonful or two, without juice, next to the duck breast. Slice two green peppers, and garnish the plates with pepper slices.
This is a really delicious and attractive cold meal, and is easy to eat out of a lunch box or on a picnic, no sauces to drip, no difficult-to-pick-up pieces.