That’s Just Ducky!

In my post about lamb, I said that my other favorite thing to order as a main course is duck. Unlike lamb, I rarely prepare duck at home. The last time was in May 2009: Magret with Strawberry Red Wine Balsamic Sauce

Magret with Strawberry Red Wine Balsamic Sauce

Starting from January 2010 until the present, I’ve had duck in restaurants thirteen times, just three fewer than lamb.

Whole roasted ducks are not exactly ubiquitous in restaurants these days. So, one of the many glories of dining at EMP is the opportunity to experience Chef Humm’s Whole Roasted Duck for Two Glazed with Honey and Lavender.*

Duck

When he put it on the menu several years ago, it was such a sensation and so popular that there were howls of disappointment when he removed it for a while. Now, though it is not listed on the new menu format, it is available at dinner for those who request it. The flesh is always rosy, moist and tender. And then there is that amazing skin: beautifully lacquered, exceptionally crisp, with just a tiny hint of the lavender. While the duck never varies in its perfection and is always napped with a delicious sauce, the accompaniments change with the seasons.

Last month, it was plated with kumquats and turnips.

Duck

In October, he accompaniments were huckleberries and roasted turnips.

Duck

Last June, there were asparagus, ramps and strawberries.

Grimaud Farms Muscovy Duck

*The duck can be served for more than two. Portion sizes are adjusted accordingly.

Last March, when we went to Drew’s Bayshore Bistro, I was aiming to have the sliced duck breast listed on the menu on the website. Alas, when we got to the Bistro, Drew hit me with the news that he had taken it off the menu. Seeing my disappointment, he sent out an off-the-menu confited duck leg.

Duck Confit

While duck confit can be tasty – and this one was — I have to be honest and say I much prefer the duck breast (in French, magret de carnard) cooked medium rare. And a magret with cassis sauce is like a siren call to me!

Cercle Rouge: Magret de Canard – Sautéed Duck Breast with Leg Confit in Mushroom Gratin and Cassis Sauce

Magret de Canard

But magret with any other sauce will do nicely, thank you!

Belford Bistro: Roasted Magret with Puréed Sweet Potato, Duck Spring Roll,
Asparagus, Dried Cherries, and Madeira Wine

Roasted Magret

Allegretti: Star Anise Crusted Duck Breast with Green Lentils, Texas Onions, and Crispy Spiced Bread

Star Anise Crusted Duck Breast

La Mangeoire: Magret de Canard with Roasted Potatoes

Magret de Canard

Cru Wine Bar & Restaurant: Roasted Duck Breast with Fregola Sarda, Fava Beans, Confit and Lavender Stuffed Squash Blossom

Roasted Duck Breast

The White Barn Inn: Pan Roasted Lola Duck with Confit Duck Leg and Spinach Raviolo,
Garden Green Beans, and Peach Gastrique Sauce

Pan Roasted Lola Duck

Le Parisien: Roasted Duck Breast with Balsamic Fig Sauce

Roasted Duck Breast

Finally, two duck dishes of an entirely different nature.

When Aldea opened in 2009, Chef George Mendes’ Portuguese-inspired cuisine garnered raves, and his Arroz de Pato with Duck Confit, Chorizo, Olives, and Duck Cracklings became an instant hit and signature dish. We had it the first time we dined there not long after the restaurant opened. We had it again in May 2010 when we had lunch there with the ulterior epicure. Since I left the photography during that meal to him, the photo here is from our dinner in July 2009.

Arroz de Pato

Nuela, which serves Pan-Latin cuisine, opened last summer. I had heard that they were also serving arroz de pato. Unfortunately, my physical situation kept us from trying it sooner. In January, we finally did. Quite different from Aldea’s, Nuela’s Arroz con Pato for 2, with Crispy Duck Breast, Confit Thighs & Gizzards, Roasted Foie Gras, Verde Rice, and Soft Duck Egg is truly spectacular!

"Arroz con Pato"

No doubt, there will be duck on the menu in many restaurant we will go to in 2011. Rest assured, when I see them, I won’t be ducking out!

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