WE MAKE THIS dish with Liberty Duck, hailing from the exceptional Sonoma County Poultry in California, which was founded by Jim Reichardt, a fourth-generation duck farmer. Seared on the skin and finished in the broiler, the meat is the perfect foil for a medley of rhubarb—confit, pureed, and pickled. Szechuan pepper brings a sophisticated, aromatic heat rather than straight fire. Around the plate, candied pistachios, pistachio oil, and pistachio powder add crunch and nuttiness.
“In French cuisine, marriage of duck and fruit is our own sweet and sour affair.”
Poached: Preheat the oven to 200°F. Peel the rhubarb and place the peels in a saucepan with the port. Simmer to reduce by half and add the grenadine, sugar, and 3 cups of water. Return to a simmer. Arrange the rhubarb in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Strain the liquid over the top. Bake uncovered for 2 hours, basting the rhubarb with the liquid every 15 minutes, until the rhubarb is tender. Scoop half of the rhubarb from the liquid onto a cutting board and trim into at least eight 1-inch squares; reserve the trim. Transfer the squares in a single layer into half of a shallow baking pan; reserve, chilled.
Confit: Return the baking pan with the remaining rhubarb stalks and liquid to the oven and bake, turning the rhubarb every 15 minutes, for 2 hours, or until the liquid is syrupy and the rhubarb is dark red and very tender. Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature. Scoop the confit rhubarb onto a cutting board and use a 2-inch ring cutter to cut and shape 4 discs; reserve the trim. Transfer the discs in a single layer to the other half of the baking dish with the poached rhubarb squares, cover, and reserve, chilled. Strain the liquid and reserve, chilled.
Coulis: Transfer all of the rhubarb trim to a blender and puree, adding just enough of the cooking liquid to make a thick, smooth puree; reserve the remaining cooking liquid. Pass the puree through a fine-meshed sieve and transfer to a squeeze bottle with a small tip; set aside.
For the Daikon Radish and Baby Turnips
Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil and place a bowl of ice water on the side. Cut the daikon radish into desired shapes (the daikon in the photo was cut into tubes with ¾-inch- and ½-inch-diameter cannoli forms; the insides were kept for pickling). Boil half of the daikon radish (or the tubes) and turnips in separate batches until tender. Chill in the ice water. Pat dry and set aside.
For the Pickled Rhubarb and Daikon Radish
Use a mandoline to cut the rhubarb into thin ribbons and place in a heatproof container with the remaining half of the daikon radish (the pickled daikon in the photo is the center of the tubes). In a small saucepan, bring the pickling liquid to a simmer with the star anise and coriander seeds. Pour over the rhubarb and reserve, chilled.
For the Rhubarb Glaze
In a small saucepan, combine the rhubarb syrup, sugar, vinegar, peppercorns, and salt. Bring to a simmer and add the chicken jus. Reduce to a thick glaze and remove from the heat.
Preheat the broiler. Use a blender or spice grinder to pulse half the candied pistachios to a fine powder. Score the duck breast skin into a crosshatch pattern. Allow the duck breast to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
In a medium sauté pan, heat the duck fat over medium heat. Season the breasts with salt, white pepper, and Szechuan pepper, and add skin side down to the pan. Slowly sear the skin while basting the breasts with the fat from the pan, about 10 minutes. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the fat and continue cooking until the skin crisps, about 2 minutes. Flip the breasts and sear for 1 more minute, or until the internal temperature reaches 127°F. Transfer the breasts to a foil-lined baking sheet, brush with an even coating of the rhubarb glaze, and broil skin side up for 1 minute, or until the glaze is caramelized and shiny. If desired, trim the edges of the breasts into straight lines.
Melt the butter in a small sauté pan and add the boiled daikon radish and turnips. Toss to heat through and season with salt and pepper. Cover the baking dish of poached and confit rhubarb with aluminum foil and transfer to the lower rack of the oven for 5 minutes, or until heated through.
For each serving, set a disc of confit rhubarb in the center of a warm dinner plate and top with a duck breast, a few candied pistachios, and a sprinkling of fleur de sel. Wrap the ribbons of pickled rhubarb around a piece of pickled daikon and place in one corner of the plate. Pipe a dot of rhubarb coulis in an opposite corner, top with a piece of glazed daikon (if you made tubes, fill the center with rhubarb coulis), and sprinkle with some of the ground pistachios. Place 2 pieces of poached rhubarb on the other 2 opposite corners of the plate and top each with 1 or 2 pieces of glazed turnip; garnish each with a leaf of micro shiso. Drizzle a couple of dots of pistachio oil on the plate.