These snappy morsels are served skewered on toothpicks and make a fine introduction to the evening’s festivities. Adapted from Dennis Cakebread’s recipe.
Wine recommendations: Duck works well with everything from sparkling wine and off-dry whites to full-bodied Cabernets and Merlots. Why not try the poppers with their inventor’s wine, the Cakebread 1999 Merlot? Hugel’s 2000 Cuvée Les Amours Pinot Blanc from Alsace is a great predinner white-wine choice.
- 2 wild duck breasts (or 1 domestic duck breast) sliced into 2-inch rounds, 1/4-inch thick
- 1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
- 5 slices bacon (about 1/2 pound)
- 3 tablespoons water
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 15 to 20 toothpicks
In a small bowl, marinate the duck breast in soy sauce for 30 minutes. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over high heat until it is cooked but still supple. (If it is too crisp, it will break on the toothpicks.) Drain the bacon on a paper towel and set aside.
Remove bacon grease from the skillet, and return skillet to the stovetop heat. Using the 3 tablespoons water, break up any solids remaining on the surface of the pan and add the duck breast pieces. Cook them on both sides for 1 to 2 minutes. (They should be eaten rare.)
Cut the bacon into 2-inch lengths. Pierce one or two pieces of duck breast with a toothpick. Then add a piece of bacon to the mini-duck skewer. Arrange the duck poppers on a serving plate and sprinkle liberally with freshly ground black pepper.