Southwestern French have always known the versatility of duck Fat and goose fat. They raise the birds, roast them, use the rendered fat in cooking and make downs from their feathers.
There is no more versatile bird than the domesticated duck.
These days, animal fat is anathema to the sophisticated North American, but it turns out that duck fat contains a high percentage of monounsaturated fats, that help raise the HDL (high density cholesterol), which is a good thing.
Nutritionists agree that duck fat consumed in moderation is better than butter. French researchers claim that both duck and goose fat are closer in composition to olive oil than butter or lard. Of course olive- and canola oil are still better than duck fat, but if you want a welcome change in your diet and experience a new taste dimension, try duck fat.
It consists of 33 per cent of saturated fats whereas clarified butter that has 50 per cent; 49 monounsaturated fats vs. 29 of butter, and to top it all, duck fat has a higher smoke point than butter.
The high consumption of duck and goosed fat in French cuisine may to some extent explain the French paradox with regard to cholesterol problems.
They eat a lot of cheese, and other saturated fat containing foods, but coronary diseases in the French population are much less prevalent that, say in, Scandinavia (particularly Finland) or in North America.
However, French drink notably larger quantities of red wine more regularly than Scandinavians or North Americans.
Confit of duck or goose that southwestern French have been eating for centuries is now quite the rage among gourmets in Europe and elsewhere in the world, but particularly with North American foodies.
Confit is nothing more than the leg of either duck or goose stewed in its own fat and preserved. While many people think of confit to be fatty, it is not, simply because of the fat medium. Heat draws the fat out of the meat and functions as a preservative.
Once you roast a duck or goose, strain the fat, salt it liberally, pour it in a jar, cool and refrigerate. The salt prevents the fat from becoming rancid.
Next time you want to fry scalloped potatoes, try duck fat instead of oil or butter, ad judge it for yourself.
As to where can buy duck fat,
extract it from the bird, before cooking it or call high end butchers in cosmopolitan cities.