- Date: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 -- 7pm
- Location: Berkeley, CA
- Kitchen: Our Temporary California Home
- Dining Companion: Matty
- Recipe Rating: B+
I needed a break from all the seafood so I chose this duck recipe for dinner a couple weeks ago. This recipe was a take on the French classic duck a l'orange, incorporating the Chinese method of cooking the duck twice: the first a slow cook for tender meat, and the second a high heat roast for crispy skin. I rubbed the duck with salt, then stuffed it with some celery and onion, and sprinkled sugar around the duck. I then poured boiling water over it and braised it in the oven, turning once. I then chilled the duck and the braising liquid separately overnight. The next day I blanched some clementine zest. I made a glaze of clementine juice, red wine vinegar, and sugar. I reserved some of the glaze, and used the rest to start a sauce. For the sauce I added the zest strips, and some of the braising liquid from the day before (defatted). I then roast the duck until the skin was crispy, and brushed it with the reserved clementine glaze. Once I had removed the duck from the roasting pan I cooked shallots in the pan, then deglazed with more braising liquid. I then added the deglazing liquid to the sauce I had started earlier. I added Cointreau and arrowroot to the sauce, seasoned it, and served it with the duck.
In theory this dish was awesome. In practice, it had one crucial flaw. As desired, the meat did come out fantastically tender, and the skin on the legs was quite crispy. The problem was, on the breast meat there was a very thick layer of fat that didn't render during the cooking. So the skin didn't get as crispy as I would have liked and it was separated from the meat by a huge fat layer. I'm not sure what the best strategy would be for solving this problem. On the one hand, braising longer would have helped that fat melt away. On the other hand, it was already braised so long that the meat was falling off the wing bones, so longer braising may have made my bird fall apart. Perhaps it could have been cooked in a skillet over low heat, breast side down, for a while before braising to render off some of that fat. Aside from that issue, this dish was very tasty. The meat was wonderfully tender with a great flavor, and the clementine sauce was delicious. This dish was not one that came together quickly, but it was worth the effort.
The recipe is here.
Mission: Find Exotic Seafood today was not terribly successful. The first fish market I stopped at was mysteriously closed. I was well within the hours that the sign on the door claimed they were open. And there were employees inside. But the door was locked and there was a Closed sign in the window. Stop number two was open, and did sell octopus (which was on my list). But I didn't have the time needed to cook the octopus today, so I noted where I could find it, and went on with my list. At stop number three I found king crab legs and sole, two of the easier-to-find items on my hard-to-find list. So I bought them both and made two seafood recipes for dinner: crab in sherry cream sauce, and sole stuffed with crab. Despite that small scale success with my list, the experience was discouraging. In particular, I am worried about the shad roe. I know shad roe season is over (or nearly over) on the east coast, and I have had no shad roe sightings out here. Tomorrow after work I am going to call and visit places until I either locate it, or figure out who is likely to have it and when. Time is running short -- the season will for sure be past within a few weeks. I want to finish my project this year -- I can't let the shad roe stop me! So tomorrow it is Mission: Shad Roe!