Mini-burgers and sliders are all the rage right now. They’re heavily featured on restaurant menus and in pretty much all summer issues of major food magazines and I’ll be honest: I absolutely love it! There’s something with the mini size that seems to have pushed cooks to get more creative with the humble American sandwich. In fact, we’ve long ventured away from the classic beef patty: I’ve tasted mini-burgers garnished with anything and everything from tofu to crab.
I‘ve tried many different recipes this summer but one clearly stands out. It was created by the chef of one of my favorite restaurants in Quebec City, Le Canard Goulu, the outpost of a Muscovy duck farm where all dishes served include, you guessed it, Muscovy duck. They’ve released a recipe booklet in which I discovered their “duck roll”. It’s made with duck confit, which should immediately hint you at how flavorful the end result is, but what makes it amazing is the Asian inspiration. The shredded duck meat is mixed with Thai basil, green onions, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, chili and maple syrup, which creates a wonderful spicy and sweet flavor combination, and the meat is topped with a fresh and crunchy napa cabbage, carrot and daikon slaw, which perfectly balances the duck’s rich taste.
Don’t be afraid that this will be a time-consuming recipe to make: prepared duck leg confit is usually available in gourmet grocery stores. You only need to reheat it in the microwave, shred the meat, mix in the flavorings and you’re done. Because this slider doesn’t need to be served piping hot, it’s perfect as part of a summer buffet spread, or served as an elegant first course. Of course, if you love duck as much as we do, you’ll also enjoy it on a weeknight, “just because”, washed down with a glass of light red.
Makes 12 sliders
For the slaw
½ napa cabbage (sometimes called Chinese cabbage), shredded finely
2 carrots, matchstick cut
3.5 oz [100 g] daikon radish, matchstick cut
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp [30 ml] seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp [15 ml] Mirin rice wine
1 tbsp [15 ml] sour cream or mayo
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the meat
14 oz [400 g] duck leg confit (about 2)
¼ cup [60 ml] Thai basil, finely chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp [30 ml] maple syrup
2 tbsp [30 ml] Japanese soy sauce
1 tsp [5 ml] toasted sesame oil
1 bird’s eye (Thai) chili, finely chopped (including the seeds), or ½ tsp [2.5 ml] Sambal Oelek
12 slider (or mini-burger) buns
To make the slaw: In a large bowl, put half the shredded Napa cabbage and all of the carrots and radish, and add in the rice vinegar and Mirin rice wine. Mix well to coat evenly, and let rest for 30 minutes.
While the slaw rests, prepare the meat: In a shallow microwavable dish, place the confit legs (along with all the fat) and cover with plastic wrap. Reheat at the maximum setting for 2 minutes. Drain the legs, carefully keeping the fat in a cup or a bowl. Remove the skin from the legs, then shred all the meat in a bowl. Discard the bones. Add the Thai basil, green onions, maple syrup, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili to the bowl with the meat, then add 2 tbsp [30 ml] of duck fat (keep the remaining duck fat for another use, such as frying eggs, yum!). Mix the meat mixture thoroughly to distribute the flavors evenly.
Add the remaining shredded cabbage, the green onions and the sour cream (or mayo) to the slaw and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble the sliders, toast the buns (in the oven, in a skillet or on the BBQ), then generously garnish each bun with duck and slaw. Be careful not to pick up too much liquid from the slaw to make sure your buns won’t turn soggy. Enjoy!
Recipe Credit: Translated and adapted from Martin Guillemette, Restaurant Le Canard Goulu