By Scott Leysath
Most regions of the United States have a dish that evokes a well-deserved sense of pride among its residents. Whether it's Louisiana gumbo, Lowcountry shrimp and grits, Maryland crab cakes, Buffalo wings, Minnesota wild rice soup, or New England chowder, our country has a deep pool of culinary resources. Surprisingly, some regional dishes are relatively unknown in other parts of the country, but others have become nationwide favorites.
A prime example comes from Philadelphia, home of the delicious and universally popular Philly cheese steak, a combination of thinly sliced beef and melted cheese on a soft roll. The following recipe is loosely borrowed from the original version, but with a few other added ingredients such as sliced duck breast fillets.
Philly-style Duck Sandwiches: Serves 4
- 3 cups skinless duck breast fillets, very thinly sliced (Place the duck breasts in the freezer for an hour or two to firm up before slicing as thinly as possible with a sharp, thin-bladed knife.)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse or freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Tabasco sauce, dash or two
- 4 slices pepper jack cheese
- 4 soft Italian rolls
1. In a medium bowl, combine half the olive oil with the red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Add the duck slices and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for two hours.
2. Heat the remaining oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are lightly browned. Mound the onion mixture on one side of the skillet. Add the marinated duck to the other side of the skillet and stir-fry for two to three minutes. Once cooked, season with Tabasco sauce.
3. Combine the meat and onion mixture. Form into four rectangular mounds, top with cheese, and cook until the cheese is melted. Fill each roll with the meat, onion, and cheese mixture.
Cooked and thinly sliced duck breast fillets make great sandwich fillers. To give the lean meat a flavor boost, toss with some Italian dressing and refrigerate for an hour or two before arranging on sandwich bread or rolls. Try it with two parts mayonnaise combined with one part prepared horseradish, and then top with lettuce and tomato. It will remind you of a prime rib sandwich.