Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Upscale Summer Grilling: Duck BBQ With Petits Pois à la Française

In the first of two episodes celebrating summer grilling, we help you prepare grilled duck and peaches with a traditional french side dish of sweet peas.

petits pois a la francais (peas in the french style)

Photo: Alycin Bektesh (for WFIU)

Petits pois à la française are a traditional French side dish served with roasted pigeon, but we dress it up with some foraged wild mustard greens and serve it as an accompaniment to barbecued duck.

Today is the first of two episodes celebrating summer grilling season.

We’ll be grilling duck and peaches for our entree, and for the side dish, we’re reinvigorating a classic french dish using fresh peas with some wild garlic mustard greens.

French Style Peas (Petits Pois à la Française)

Our first recipe is for a classic french side dish with peas and bacon – Petits Pois à la française (peas in the French style) – but with a twist…

“Generally it’s done with lettuce,” Chef Orr says, “but today I’m going to use that invasive herb that we’ve talked about – wild garlic mustard. But you could use romaine or bibb lettuce instead.”

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups blanched peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped bacon (we’re using pepper crusted bacon)
  • 2 big handfulls of wild garlic mustard greens (or lettuce)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup scallions
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon peel (fine dice)

Directions:

  1. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to a hot pan, then add 1-1 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the pan, allow the butter to melt (adding the oil to the pan first will keep the butter from burning).
  2. Add the chopped bacon and scallions. Then add the greens. Cook until the greens are wilted.
  3. Add the peas, lemon juice and peel, sugar, salt, and garlic. Cook just until the peas are warmed through.

We used foraged garlic mustard greens for this recipe, and here at Earth Eats we often forage for ingredients to use in our recipes to add an extra local and seasonal touch.

But a quick word of advice/caution: take care when foraging for food so you know exactly what you’re putting into your dishes. For more foraging tips, check out some of these past articles from Earth Eats.

Duck BBQ With Grilled Peaches

The side dish we just prepared is traditionally served with roasted pigeon, but it’s summer grilling season, so we thought we’d do something a little different. Not your usual burgers and hotdogs — here’s a delicious way to grill duck.

By par-cooking the duck in advance you remove a majority of the fat that can cause flare-ups and burning. You also don’t need to worry about undercooking the meat and having burnt skin and raw duck.

You can also do the same recipe with chicken, goose, game hens, or any other poultry for a change of pace.

Step One: Par-cooked Roasted Duck for Grilling (may be done up to 3 days in advance)

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Remove giblets and trim excess fat. Rinse and dry.
  3. Gently prick the skin. Season as desired, inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff with ½ oranges and lemons and fresh herb stems if desired. If you prefer, truss legs loosely.
  4. Spray roasting pan with cooking spray. Place the bird breast-side up on a rack in pan and fill with 1/3-1/2 inch of water.
  5. Roast duckling for 20 to 25 minutes per pound. Baste with pan juices every 15minutes. The duckling is done when the legs move freely, the juices run clear, and the internal temperature atthe leg joint reaches 145-150° F.
  6. Remove duckling from oven and cool to room temperature. Cut into 1/2s or 1/4s and chill in refrigerator until needed.

Step two:

Ingredients:

  • 1 par-cooked duck (see above)
  • ¾ cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 4 peaches – cut in half and pitted

Directions:

  1. To cook on a gas grill, turn all burners to high, close lid and allow to heat up for about 15 minutes. When hot, leave 1 burner on high and turn the rest to med-low and close the lid.
  2. Place par-cooked duck on the grill over the burner on high. Cook 2-3 minutes per side or until lightly browned and crispy.
  3. Move duck to the cooler side of grill, skin side up, and brush liberally with BBQ sauce. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Brush with BBQ sauce again and turn over. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
  5. As the duck finishes on the slow side of the grill, grill the peaches. To do this brush the grill lightly with an oiled paper towel. Place the peaches, cut side down, on the hottest part of the grill and cook until caramelized. Turn them over and place on the cooler side of the grill until duck is finished.
  6. Remove duck and peaches from heat to a serving platter and drizzle with remaining BBQ, Sprinkle with Sea Salt and a touch of freshly cracked black pepper.

More Grilling Tips (from Earth Eats): Chef Orr’s Holiday Grilling Tips

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Earth Eats Staff is a weekly podcast, public radio program and blog bringing you the freshest news and recipes inspired by local food and sustainable agriculture.

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