Had a good day yesterday teaching sauces and emulsions and got to create a new recipe for duck.It actually came out pretty good, considering that I had not done it before. I know what you're thinking: we should not try new dishes on the customers, the first time we cook them. Well, I knew it would work well as I believe that when creating new dishes we need to feel them mentally. What ? Mental food ? you bet ! It is all about the senses. More on that later.
Back to the duck. I used duck legs which I deboned and scored the skin before further processing. For the assembly, lay down the legs flat with the skin down,season them lightly with sea salt and fresh ground pepper (not the stuff that has been languishing in your cupboard for years) cover with a blanched leaf of Swiss chard and 2 tablespoon of a forcemeat made with ground pork and olives. Yep, that's right, olives. Then roll the legs close, wrap them in caul fat and tie them. I was thinking way back when we use to roast ducks and serve them with an olive sauce. The flavors are great and it is different . Look at the pictures and you'll get the idea.
Now you see me, now you don't ! Pork and duck fats still rules, deal with it !
For the sauce I went all out, kept it simple and made duck essence. What ? Relax, this big cooking term is often misused and most cooks would not have a clue on how to do it. You see, most people believe that an essence is a highly reduced and rich stock made with lots of bones,meat ,aromatics and that it should only represent the flavor of the protein used or the main ingredient for that matter.
No, No this is not an essence ! An essence is a quick,freshly made short stock cooked and simmered entirely on stovetop for no more than twenty to thirty minutes. It actually is better than,say a demi glace when the goal is to obtain a natural stock with clean and uncompromised flavor. So,there it is, I said it so go ahead and start the argument, I can take it !
Here are a few step by step shots:
Want to see what it looked like cooked ? Check below !
Think you got that Hollandaise just right ? Not if you skip the reduction of vinegar and cracked pepper ! More pics.
Make sure you get to that ribbon stage !
Remember me telling you to think you food ? Well the class did that all afternoon as I had everyone taste the before and after sauces. Before meaning, without the necessary adjustments that we Chefs are looking for in a sauce, to make it as close to perfect as we can get it. That's what I call my sensory test for each class when I ask the class to litterally "think what they are tasting" so it register mentally and will later become a measuring stick when tasting the same food again.
Some of my friends think I am nuts ! What do you mean taste that food with my brains ? Exactly that !
Yummmmmmmmm, time for all !
Isn't that fun ? It is also lots of work but that is what some of us do and love every minute of it.
As I said before I am totally new at this so my composition on this blog is off . Since I am a big believer of practice makes perfect, it will get better. For now let me know what you think and what else I need to do for more oumph. Do not be shy in posting a comment, good, bad or otherwise.