January 2016 - Smoked Duck and Goat Cheese With Nachos With Mango Pico

Chef Phillip Rice takes the typical nacho several steps further with this intriguing combination. Smoked chicken may be substituted for the duck, and experimenting with various Mexican cheeses will produce other, equally interesting results. The mango pico adds a particularly refreshing flavor to this substantial appetizer. Guacamole and sour cream can be served in place of the mango pico.

  • 4 boneless, skinless duck breasts, 6-8 oz each
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 lbs fresh goat cheese, queso fresco or Chihuahua cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 chalupa shells or large triangular tortilla chips
  • 6 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)

  • 3 mangos, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 6 plum (Roma) tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 4 green (spring) onions, including tender green tops, chopped
  • 2 fresh serrano chili peppers, seeded (if desired) and minced
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Lay the duck breasts in a single layer in a shallow dish or on a baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, salt, black pepper sugar and cayenne pepper, mixing well. Coat the duck breasts on all sides with the seasoning mixture. Let stand, uncovered, in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Prepare a smoker according to the manufacturer's instructions, prepare an indirect-heat fire in a charcoal grill and oil the grill rack. Brush off any excess seasoning from the duck breasts. Place the breasts in the smoker or on the oiled charcoal-fire grill rack, cover and cook until tender and cooked through, about 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the mango pico, in a bowl, stir together all the ingredients, including salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Preheat a broiler (griller).
  5. To assemble the nachos, cut the smoked duck breasts into long, narrow strips. Spread the goat cheese, queso fresco or Chihuahua cheese on the chalupa shells or tortilla chips, then sprinkle evenly with the pepper Jack cheese, cilantro and duck breast.
  6. Place under the broiler and broil (grill) until the cheeses melt and the ingredients are heated through, 3-4 minutes.
  7. Remove from the broiler and serve immediately with the mango pico on the side.