This recipe is a nod to one of Chef Chris Cosentino’s signature dishes, only I am using slightly different flavorings — and duck hearts. The thing about hearts (of anything) is that they taste intensely of whatever they came out of, and duck hearts are no exception. Cosentino came up with the Puttanesca flavorings, which are basically the pantry staples of capers, olives, a little chile and tomatoes. The result is surprisingly non-threatening, taste-wise, and very good as a little starter.
It is winter when I am writing this recipe, so the traditional tomatoes are a no-go; if you make this when they are in season, by all means use them. In winter I use roasted red pepper, stored under olive oil in a jar.
This recipe can be done with any wild game heart, and you can sub in regular breast meat if you run short. But for the duck hunters out there — or those who can lay their hands on a supply of duck hearts (try Asian markets) — here is my version.
Figure on 6-8 hearts per person
- 3-4 dozen duck or goose hearts
- 1 small fresh chile, sliced very thin
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tiny capers
- 1 tablespoon olives (green or black)
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2-3 tablespoons roasted red pepper, cut into pieces the sice of the capers
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice (Meyer lemon is best)
- 2 teaspoons minced parsley
- 2 teaspoons minced mint
- Olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove per person
- Trim off the top of the hearts — the top end with the fat. Mince the hearts into pieces about the size of the capers and put into a bowl.
- Mince the olives well and put into the bowl.
- Add everything but the olive oil, lemon juice and herbs and mix gently to combine.
- Slice the garlic cloves lengthwise thinly.
- Put 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan and fry the garlic cloves over medium-high heat until crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
- Add the lemon juice, olive oil and herbs to the bowl and mix gently.
- To serve, put a large spoonful of the tartare on a plate and drizzle with olive oil, then top with garlic chips.