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Peking Duck Bites

A show-stopping hors d'oeuvre with a fun twist on a Chinese favorite.

Peking Duck Bites

Everything about Peking duck is delectable from its crispy, pinguid skin, to the sliced scallion and sweet hoisin garnish. This hors d'oeuvre punctuates all of those elements thanks to luscious slices of seared duck breast paired with crispy wonton cups baked in mini muffin tins. Make the wonton cups days in advance, but fill them right before service. Every bite is packed with tons of duck flavor and lots of crunch. Easy to pick up and even more fun to eat, these Peking duck bites will be the hit of any party!

Equipment: cutting board; chef's knife; mini muffin tins; measuring spoons; small bowl; pastry brush; large sauté pan; tongs

Ingredients: 2 large duck breasts

1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

24 wonton wrappers

2 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise on bias

2-4 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Lightly brush 24 wells of mini muffin tins with sesame oil. Place a wonton wrapper in each of the greased muffin wells, pressing and pleating to fit into the well. Lightly brush each shaped wonton wrapper with oil.

3. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the bottoms of the cups are crisped (but lighter in color). Remove the from the oven and set aside to cool.

ILOC tip: the wonton cups can be made up to three days in advance. Once cool, store in an airtight container.

4. Pat dry the skin and flesh of the two duck breasts. Score the skin of the breasts through to the fat - but not top the flesh - in a diamond pattern (approximately 3-5 cuts in each direction). Season the skin and flesh sides with the five spice powder and salt.

"Scoring the skin in a cross-hatch pattern helps to render all the duck fat, which facilitates cooking and adds flavor to the otherwise quite lean duck flesh. If done properly, the fat pad renders more or less completely, leaving a delectably crisp skin."

5. Heat the sauté pan over medium-high heat. Put the duck breasts skin side-down and cook slowly over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, or until the fat is almost completely rendered and the skin is crisp and deep golden brown.

6. Carefully turn the duck breast and cook flesh side-down for 4-5 minutes for medium-rare. Remove the duck to a cutting board to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

ILOC tip: scallions and hoisin are a must, but julienned cucumber and/or cantaloupe are also traditional, delicious, elegant garnishes.

7. Slice each duck breast crosswise into 12 thin slices.

8. Fold one slice of duck into each wonton cup. Drizzle with hoisin sauce, then top with sliced scallions. Serve immediately.

Makes 24 pieces.

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