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Duck is one of the dishes of choice to serve for the Christmas meal. To change from the traditional duck breast, you can opt for the equally tasty aiguillettes. These thin strips of meat are cut from the upper, fleshy part of the breast. Find out how to properly prepare them and successfully cook them with our guide.
See also: how to cook duck breast successfully?
Before diving into cooking, you must trim the needles. For this, it is imperative remove the nerve at the risk of having a really unpleasant texture in the mouth when tasting. Start by making a slight incision in the center, lengthwise, of the needle to remove the nerve using a sharp knife. The needles may also present pieces of fatsimply remove them carefully, trying to remove as little flesh as possible.
Cooking the duck breasts is a crucial step to preserve their tenderness and prevent the meat from being too dry. You can cook them in three different ways: in the pan, in the oven, or even on the barbecue or on the plancha. Each of these methods offers a different taste experience.
Before cooking, season the aiguillettes with salt, pepper, and possibly aromatic herbs to enhance their flavor. To be sure of cooking, it is convenient to use a meat thermometer. An internal temperature of around 54-57°C guarantees pink cooking, while a temperature of 63-65°C indicates more medium cooking.
Cooking in a pan:
To pan fry, start by heating the pan over medium heat. Make sure the strips are at room temperature for even cooking. Place them in the hot pan with a little fat (butter, oil). Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
To prevent the needles from becoming too dry when cooking, marinate them in a mixture of oil and spices. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the aiguillettes in a suitable dish and bake them for around 8 to 10 minutes for pink cooking, or 10 to 15 minutes for more medium cooking. Check regularly to adjust the cooking time according to the thickness of the needles and use a thermometer if you have one.
Cooking on the barbecue or on the plancha:
For barbecue or plancha cooking, preheat the appliance to medium heat. Place the strips and let them cook for about 5 to 7 minutes on each side for a pinkish cooking, or 7 to 10 minutes on each side for a more medium cooking. Watch carefully to avoid overcooking and be sure to turn the skewers halfway through cooking for even heat.
After cooking, let the strips rest for a few minutes under a sheet of aluminum foil. This will allow the meat to retain its juices and maintain its tenderness.