Origami's steamed duck: 100 Favorite Dishes, No. 77

Duck is revered in various cuisines around the world. It's well known that the French and Chinese have long valued the fatty meat as a delicacy, but it might be somewhat unexpected that the Japanese have a thing for duck meat, too.

Can you blame them?

Duck has the ability to enhance any world cuisine with its rich fat and distinct flavor--from Peking to à l'orange. And at Origami, it gets a Japanese treatment.

It is a dish of steamed duck breast sliced thin, served chilled with a small mound of onions, strands of chives, and a dab of spicy mustard.

The item at Origami in downtown Minneapolis seems almost out of place in a restaurant where meat is usually served in large portions in American-friendly dishes like sukiyaki and teriyaki.

Each slice is juicy, its flavor exquisitely apparent in every cell of the meat. The fat that trims its rosy flesh is an important component of the experience, not to be torn off but to be eaten together with the meat to enhance the flavor.

In its original form, a duck breast is covered in a thick layer of fat. For this dish, the fat is rendered, or cooked off, on the stove, leaving just enough to frame the meat. The secret to this duck is that it's steamed while bathed in a marinade of sake, soy sauce, and mirin. The process flavors the meat while allowing it to retain its juices.

The onions, chives, and mustard provide textural contrast and refresh the palate. Take a few bites of the paper-thin onion slices while making your way through the duck. Wrap a slice of duck around a few strands of chives. Dot a little mustard on the meat for heat and additional flavor.

But really, the duck doesn't really need more taste--it's plenty delicious by itself.

ORIGAMI 30 First St. N., Minneapolis 612.333.8430; Origami website

Hungry for more? The dishes in our countdown thus far are linked below:

No. 78: B.T. McElrath's Salty Dog bar No. 79: Mozza Mia's house-made limoncello No. 80: Salty Tart Bakery's pastry cream-filled brioche
No. 81: Little Szechuan's bamboo tips with chili sauce
No. 82: Oceanaire's Jumbo Lump Crab Cake
No. 83: Aperitif's Nonni's Meatballs
No. 84: Christos's Saganaki
No. 85: Seven Stars' Sesame Bagel
No. 86: Hell's Kitchen Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes
No. 87: Blackbird banh mi
No. 88: Tank Goodness chocolate chip cookies
No. 89: Sole Cafe's gal bee
No. 90: Porter & Frye's El Pelon
No. 91: Coffee News' fish and chips
No. 92: Bread & Chocolate's Fabulous Fudge Bar
No. 93: People's Organic Panna Cotta
No. 94: Sea Salt Eatery Crawdad Po' Boy
No. 95: Fuji Ya's Tofu Don
No. 96: Ike's Food and Cocktails The Weekender Bloody Mary
No. 97: Punch's Toto pizza
No. 98: Stockholm Pie Company's peanut butter fudge cream pie
No. 99: Dogwood Coffee Co.'s macchiato
No. 100: Al's Breakfast buttermilk pancakes

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