Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Duck Rillettes – It Only Tastes Like Duck Butter with Extra Butter

Duck rillettes is one of the most amazing culinary magic tricks of all time. Even though most of the spread is made up of fairly lean duck meat, by emulsifying in a little butter, duck fat, and duck gelatin, you’ll swear the final product has the fat content of the finest foie gras torchon. By the way, I miss foie gras torchon.

The key here is to mash the large chunks of cold duck with the warm duck fat and gelatin. As the meat breaks down, the fat cools and turns the whole bowl into creamy duck spread heaven. Pack it in a crock, keep it sealed with a layer of fat, and you have an incredibly tasty snack that will last long into the winter months.

Some chefs prefer to let the duck sit overnight with the rub on, and “potpourri” in, but I skip that step, and instead let the duck cool in it’s own juices after roasting, and then sit overnight in the fridge, to continue developing flavor. Once made, it can be enjoyed right away, but if you can hold off a few days, it will really come into its own.  Or eat right away, and in a few days.

I know it’s a little early for edible holiday gift ideas, but keep this one in mind. The only problem is, once you’ve given duck rillettes as a gift, you’ll never give a gift as good. Just a little heads-up. That aside, I really hope you give this preserved duck spread a try soon. Enjoy!



Ingredients for about 3 cups of Duck Rillettes:
1 whole duck (about 4 1/2 pounds)
- For spice rub:
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 generous teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
- For the potpourri:
12 cloves garlic
six 1/4-inch slices fresh ginger
3 bay leaves
peel from 1 orange (only orange parts)
1 generous bunch fresh thyme

- Roast duck at 250 F. for about 5-6 hours, or until meat pulls away from the bones

To finish:
cold pulled duck meat
1 tablespoon Armagnac or cognac or other brandy
2 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
2-3 tablespoons warm duck fat (add as needed)
2 tablespoons warm duck stock
2 teaspoons parsley
1 teaspoons chive
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Friday, September 19, 2014

Remoulade Sauce 2.0

I believe there’s a very old remoulade video floating around the channel somewhere, but after making some to go with our salmon cakes, I figured it was high time to share an updated version. Better known as tartar sauce, this easy and adaptable condiment isn't just for fish sticks anymore.

As I mentioned in the video, it was originally invented to go alongside meat, so it comes as no surprise that it’s excellent on everything from grilled pork chops to double cheeseburgers. And when it comes to sandwiches, as long as you have some of this sitting around (should last at least a week), no mayo should touch your turkey on whole wheat. 

Regarding the dried tarragon reduction at the beginning; this is an old-school step that many people will skip, but if you can find dried tarragon, I really think you should give this method to try, as the flavor is quite different than if fresh is used. With condiments like this, every single ingredient is “to taste,” so be sure to adjust according to yours, especially when it comes to the pickle combination.

If you’re going to serve with something on the spicy/tangy/savory side, you may want to include some bread-and-butter pickles for sweetness. On the other hand, if you're doing something like fried scallops, which have a naturally sweet flavor, you may want to go with just dill pickles to balance the flavor. Either way, I hope you give this remoulade sauce a try soon. Enjoy!



Ingredients for about 1 1/2 cup of remoulade sauce: 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/4 cup finely diced dill pickles
1/4 cup finely diced bread & butter pickles
1 tablespoon chopped capers
1 tablespoon minced green onions
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fresh Salmon Cakes – Uncanny

Salmon cakes are one of my go-to, emergency meals. We keep a few cans of salmon in the pantry, and when faced with that dreaded “there’s nothing in the house to eat” situation, we pop one open, and are soon enjoying a batch of these easy, affordable, and pretty delicious patties.

That’s the typical scenario, but every once in a while I like to use fresh salmon. Salmon is one of those products, like chicken, that’s very easy to get into a rut with. People generally find a few recipes that work for them, and just stay with those, but this fairly simple preparation should be easy to add to anyone's rotation.

Like other seafood “cakes,” we want to use the minimum amount of filler. Just a touch of breadcrumb is all you need here, as the raw salmon is the real binder. That’s one of the big advantages over canned salmon cakes, where we’re cooking something that’s already cooked. The result is something much moister, and more tender.

As far as flavorings go, you’re faced with an infinite number of possibilities. Using this basic method, you can go hog-wild with variations, including, but not limited to, actual hog parts. These are also perfect for a burger bun, as well as a base for poached eggs. That may be my favorite use. I hope you give these fresh salmon cakes a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 salmon cakes:
1 tbsp extra olive oil
1/4 finely minced onion
2 tbsp finely minced red pepper
2 tbsp minced celery
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp capers
1 1/4 pounds fresh wild salmon, trimmed, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (any will work)
2 clove finely minced garlic
pinch cayenne
pinch Old Bay
1 tsp Dijon mustard
additional olive oil for frying