I had the opportunity to do a dinner class for some wonderful folks that own King Cole Ducks. Really the dinner at their “Duck School” was open to the public. They have a lovely setup on Warden Road north of Aurora Road in Newmarket. These customers (23 of them) are a mix of new and repeat diners but they share one thing in common – they love duck!

King Cole Ducks is a family run business – and I do mean family! In 1951, Jim and Marg Murby along with their son Bob started duck farming. Three generations later, the family – Debbie, Patti and their extended families, run a business empire that produces approximately 2.5 million ducks a year from 14 farms with 160 people. To quote my UK-based relatives – quite “ducky” people (there are plenty more duck’isms that they use 🙂 ). They have set up a wonderful kitchen in their showroom and bring in Chef’s like myself to showcase their product in various recipes. And there are so many products to see and try! I used duck product in everything from the appetizer to the dessert – yes dessert! Speaking of desserts I had some great help from a wonderful young sous chef (actually a pastry Chef named Dani B. who works in a boutique bakery in Aurora called – Simply Yummy!).

My menu for the evening was Smoked Duck Breast with Maple Caramelized Onions on a Crostini served with a Mesclun and Watercress salad. The smoked duck breast slices were topped off with their very own pepper jelly. The nice thing about working in places like this, Loblaw’s, Longo’s is that they have everything there and you know, a Chef like me gets inspired by what he sees – there was lots! The main was Jamaican Duck Curry with Coconut Rice. For dessert – sticky toffee pudding with Salted Duck Fat Caramel sauce – oh my goodness! But today, I’m sharing my Smoked Duck appetizer recipe as it is truly a remarkable product. The entire duck – skin and all, is edible. It’s boneless and slices wonderfully well! If desired – you can pan sear the duck breast – skin side down, for a few minutes before using it. This is not necessary but can be done. I’ve made it many times and done it both ways with equally great results – or so my guests tell me. As always – enjoy!

1 smoked King Cole Duck breast, thinly sliced
1 baguette, cut into 1/4” slices
2 large onions, sliced thinly
2 tbsp. maple syrup
4 tbsp. olive oil
4 tbsp. duck fat
Salt and pepper
1 pkg Mesclun Mix or Arugula or a combination
1 bunch watercress – leaves only
¼ cup Jalapeno Jelly – really any sweet/spicy jelly will do

Line a baking tray with parchment paper, spread the baguette slices on the tray
Melt 2 tbsp. duck fat with 2 tbsp. olive oil in a medium sized frying pan
Lightly paint the baguette with this mixture – sprinkle with salt and pepper – set aside
In the same pan, melt the remaining 2 tbsp. duck fat and add the 2 tbsp. olive oil
When the pan is hot, add the onions and stir – sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir
Reduce the heat to medium and caramelize the onions – should take about 15 minutes
When the onions are browned and softened – add the maple syrup and stir
Continue to cook for another 5 minutes – remove from the heat and let cool
Preheat the oven to 325f – when hot, put the painted baguette slices in the oven – let the bread get crusty on the outside but remain soft and chewy in the middle – about 5 – 8 minutes
In the meantime, slice the duck into thin slices – set aside
Remove the bread from the oven, spread with a little of the caramelized onion mixture
Top with a slice of the smoked duck and top with a dollop of the jam
Toss the salad leaves with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper
Serve the salad with the duck croutons

Appetizer 1

Smoked Duck Breast Pkg