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chefpliska

Traditional Culinary and Pastry Arts

 

seafood
Some of my favorite ways to present seafood are: (from top to bottom) Classic Shrimp Cocktail, Thai style Salmon Sates, Olive Oil poached Tuna with White Beans, Sea Bass and Ahi Tuna Sashimi with white Soy and Sesame Oil, Baked Scallops wrapped with Grava Lox on Saffron Tomato Buerre Blanc, Grilled Shrimp with Cucumber and Yogurt, Fried Soft Shell Crab and Royal Red Rock Shrimp in Country Mustard Cream Sauce, Spanish Style Seafood Paella.

Gotta love Seafood! Served hot or chilled seafood with its vast array of types and preparations never fails to impress. Farm raised or wild and sustainable… flat fish, round  fish, crustaceans, and mollusks, the seemingly endless variety takes special care and treatment to serve it at its best. Here are some tips for purchasing, storing, cooking and presenting the fruits of the sea!

  • Before buying seafood do some research on where it comes from to see how it was harvested and/or raised. One popular site is Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Food Watch
  • Buy the freshest seafood you can find and remember that fresh fish does not smell at all
  • If not cooked immediately fish should be stored on ice or marinated as soon as you bring it home
  • Shell fish (mollusks) should be closed and are alive when purchased so make sure not to cover tightly so they won’t suffocate
  • The best way to clean mollusks is to scrub them with kosher salt and a little cold water. Do this in bowl by rubbing them together briskly with the salt to clean them well and rinsing until the water is clear
  • Don’t overcook seafood. Its protein make-up is different from meat and can dry out and become tough if overcooked
  • Always trim off the dark blood line of fish; this is where toxins can build up in the fish
  • Some fish skin can be eaten and some should be trimmed off, depends on the species

If you like seafood chowder check out my recipe for Fish Market Chowder on my recipe page. It calls for using fish stock, also known as fumet. Fish stock should be made with white fish bones, if possible. The best ones are flounder, turbot, or sole. It should be cooked for a short time (30 minutes with 15 minutes off the stove to let it settle ) and be skimmed well. I make mine with onions, parsley, bay leaves, pepper corns and dry white wine. The poaching liquid  from seafood can be used to replace fish stock if needed in a pinch. That is if it is made properly.

The processes, techniques and recipes are endless since there are so many types of fish and seafood that come from our oceans. Classic recipes and preparations are found in every major cuisine worldwide. If you love to cook and haven’t had much experience with seafood I encourage you to learn to cook seafood and you will soon find out how great fish can be!

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Pan fried Bronzini with Little Neck Clams and Gnocchi Parisienne in a Tomato Fennel Sauce with Squash and Egg Plant.
Halibut
Alaskan Halibut Filet comes from a large flat fish that lives on the bottom of the ocean in the same family of fin fish as Sole, Flounder, and Turbot.
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Seafood Napoleon is layered with crisp Puff Pastry. First layer is sautéed Scallops and Spinach and the second layer is Shrimp on Puree of Gold Potatoes. Three sauces are Brandy Shrimp Cream Sauce, roasted Tomato Coulis and Balsamic Vinegar Reduction.

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As a working Executive Chef I am often asked advice on culinary schools. If you or someone in your family are considering a career as a chef and are planning to start your training by going to a culinary school then “Welcome to Culinary School” by Daniel Traster is a good book to get you started. It came to my attention when Daniel Traster interviewed me for inclusion in the book along with many other chefs and culinary instructors. The advice given by all of these chefs and educators is a very valuable feature of the book for anyone entering the culinary field. The contents and other features of the book are:

  • Divided into three parts – Learning to Succeed in College, Maximizing Your Marketability, Your Graduating: Now What?
  • Second Edition published
  • 300 pages with useful appendix with professional culinary associations, and job descriptions
  • Many interviews with advice from Chefs, Educators, Managers and Students

Daniel Traster should be proud of his latest edition; it will help many students on their journey into the field of culinary and pastry arts. It is published by Pearson and is available at Amazon.com.

 

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Raspberry tart made with a sweet sugar crust coated with dark chocolate and filled with pastry cream. Image by  Robert Watson.

Wondering what dessert to make this year for your Christmas dinner? How about a tart. Easy to prepare, tarts can be served in many different ways, both warm or cold. They can be prepared with a few ingredients such as this classic French apple tart or with more elaborate ingredients such as a warm plum hazelnut tart. See my recipes page for the full recipe for the apple tart.

The warm plum hazelnut tart was featured in the National Culinary Review in my article “Tantalizing Tarts” in the September issue of the National Culinary Review, the official magazine of the American Culinary Federation. In the article I included recipes and advice for creating signature tarts from some of the nation’s top pastry chefs and pastry authors along with a brief history of some timeless classic tarts like Tart Tatin and Backwell tart.

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French Apple Tart with Caramel Sauce and Cream Anglaise. Image by Robert Watson.
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Warm Plum Tart in a Linzer Crust- Image by Madeline Beyer

Pecans are yet another favorite filling for tarts and pies and when combined with chocolate and bourbon in the filling and covered with a rich chocolate ganache in sweet sugar crust (Pate Sucree) they never fail to please.

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Chocolate bourbon pecan tart simply plated. Image by Madeline Bayer.

Lemon tarts are also a classic tart which can be covered with a decadent Swiss or Italian meringue for yet another impressive dessert. In this photo I garnished the tart with caramel and sugar coated dried lemon slices and white chocolate plaques that have been colored green by the use of a chocolate transfer sheet.

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Lemon Meringue Tart

In conclusion, my last tart for this post takes me back to the first image shown at the top and is always a great flavor combination: raspberry and vanilla pastry cream. Although raspberries are out of season they are readily available all year long and are the decadent berry that reminds of us of warmer times in mid summer. Note the thin chocolate coating that I brushed onto the crust after it was baked before I filled it with pastry cream. This helps to keep the crust from becoming soggy and also lends another, ever so slight, flavor profile to the finished tart.

With these ideas I hope you make a nice tart for your friends and family this holiday season and make it a tradition for years to come. Happy holidays!

 

 

 

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Bring on the meat!  This post is for the serious meat lover, it features a lamb saddle that is stuffed with a beef tenderloin and a ground meat stuffing made with veal and pork. I served this for a private banquet made up of a group of gourmets who enjoy exquisite dining experiences. After the dinner was over the group asked for me to come out into the dining room where they gave me an enthusiastic round of applause. If you prepare this dish you too will receive this type of response; however only the serious home cook or professional chef should attempt this preparation. It is a complicated procedure using expensive cuts. When done it is truly a carnivore’s dream.

Begin with a lamb saddle. Certified American lamb is what I used for this dinner.

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This primal cut of bone-in lamb is cut from the carcass between the rack and hind legs, which includes the strip loin and the tenderloin. The first step is to break it down into the usable parts by de-boning the meat by cutting through the inside of the saddle. Basically flip it over and first remove the two rib bones, then the tenderloin and finally the back bone, leaving the strip loins intact. The finished piece should be boneless and in one large square piece. Next trim any excess fat from the skirt (flap below the strip loin) and then use a meat hammer to pound out the skirt on both sides of the loin. Lastly trim the the tenderloins and place them next to the strip loins inside of the saddle and cut up the bones with a large cleaver; then roast them. These bones will be used to make the lamb Bordalaise Sauce. For more on lamb recipes and techniques for cooking go to the American Lamb Board website

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The next step is to prepare a stuffing (called a force meat in culinary jargon). To be more specific, this type of force meat is known as straight force meat. It is made from one part lean veal, half a part of fatty pork and half a part of pork back fat, all marinated in brandy, thyme, tarragon, shallots and ground black pepper. Once marinated (preferably over night) the chilled meat is passed through a ice cold meat grinder two times and then pureed in a food processor with salt and a small amount of egg white.

The next step is to fabricate (technical term for cutting or butchering meat into usable portions) a beef tenderloin by removing the fat, chain meat and silver skin. The clean tenderloin is then seasoned with salt and pepper  and seared off in a hot pan. It is then chilled and cut to the length of the lamb saddle.

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Once the force meat and tenderloin are ready the next step is to is season the saddle with salt and pepper and then cover  it with a thin layer of force meat. The tenderloin is then in-layed in the center of the saddle; then rolled up tightly and wrapped with caul fat ( the stomach fat from pork). Lastly, it is tied up with butchers twine (the culinary term for this is known as trussing) as in the photo below.

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The boneless stuffed saddle is then seared off in a hot pan and placed onto a roasting rack and roasted in a 350 F degree oven to an internal temperature in the middle of the beef tenderloin to 115 to 120 F.

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After the roast is cooked make sure to let it rest for at least 20 minutes and then remove all of the butchers twine.

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Slice the saddle and serve! For this dinner I served it on a bed of sliced roasted Fingerling potatoes with an array of seasonal vegetables and morel mushrooms on a carrot puree with lamb Bordalaise sauce.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Classic Spanish Paella garnished with sea food, charred tomatoes, and grilled scallions makes a great summer meal

Prepared with rice, peppers, onions, tomatoes and saffron, Paella is meal for those who enjoy spicy flavorful food and originally comes from southern Spain. This once humble dish reputed to have been the meal made by vineyard workers over an open fire is often served with spicy cured chorizo sausage and seafood. Authentic Paella is made from a special strain of medium grain rice called Bomba rice or Calasparra rice from Murcia Spain. In this recipe I use Arborio rice since it is easier to find.

Paella which is traditionally made in a special pie shaped shallow pan called a Paella pan can also be prepared in a large pot and then garnished with cooked sea food and served as a plated dish. Two of the special seasonings that create the best Paella are smoked paprika known as Pimenton and the stigmas of the Crocus flower more commonly known as Saffron. The dried cured salami style of Chorizo sausage is used to give the finished rice dish its complex flavor profile. Lastly, as in all rice dishes, the quality of the broth is important. The best, of course, is made with stock prepared from scratch; however there are some good quality bases or canned broths available as well.

A taste for life- specializing in Spanish food products.

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Deconstructed Paella prepared with a croquette made with Paella rice garnished with spot Prawns, and Rabbit Sausage on pea puree and tomato coulis, finished with fried sage and slow cooked tomato confit.

The most famous authentic Paella comes from Valencia; however, it is said that Paella originally came from La Albufera Spain. Paella in its traditional form cooked  and  served in the traditional Paella pans yields an impressive presentation.

Many chefs like to create new ways of presenting traditional dishes and in that context I offer an idea for deconstructed style of Paella. At the National American Culinary Federation Convention held in Las Vegas a couple of years ago I prepared this dish at a presentation simultaneous and  in unison with Chef Gui Alinat. Chef Alinat prepared his version of the original dish at the other end of the stage. In my deconstructed version I prepared the paella by making a pan fried croquette out of it; then I topped it with a rabbit sausage and presented it with Shrimp, and pea puree on a light tomato sauce, garnished with fried sage and slow cooked tomato confit. This version represents all of the flavors served in an artful manner.

This deconstructed style of Paella is most likely too complicated to prepare at home. The base recipe outlined below can easily be prepared and served in presentation like that shown in the photo in the opening image of this post.

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An alternate plating style of de-constructed  paella using the base recipe for paella made into breaded fried croquette

Sea Food Paella
By Chef Daniel Pliska CEC AAC
Yield 5 pounds or 10 portions
Ingredients:

1 1/4 lbs                                   Dry cured Chorizo (Volipi) small diced
12 ounces                                Shell fish, chopped (Shrimp, clams, mussels or scallops)
2 tablespoons                          Olive oil for browning the seafood
3/4 cup                                    Onions fine diced
1 cup                                       Red bell peppers fine diced
¼ cup                                      Fennel fine diced
1/2 cup                                    Celery fine diced
1 Tablespoon                           Garlic minced
3 cups                                      Arborio, Bomba or other short grain rice
2 cups                                      Tomatoes skinned, seeded and chopped fine
1 1/4 quarts                             Shrimp, Crab, or Chicken stock
¼ cup                                      Tomato paste
2 tablespoons                          Smoked or Spanish paprika
3 each                                      Bay leaves
¼ teaspoon                              Chili flakes
1/4 tsp                                     Saffron steeped in 1/4 cup white wine
Garnish with:
1/2 cup                                    Parsley chopped
1/4 cup                                    Basil chopped
As needed                               Cooked -Jumbo Shrimp, Steamed Clams, Scallops, Mussels,       Lobster tail (or combination of sea food)

  1. In a heavy bottom braising pan brown the Chorizo in olive oil,
  2. Remove from the pan and add the onion, peppers, fennel, celery, garlic, paprika and chili flakes. When the vegetables are tender add the rice and brown,
  3. Add the stock, saffron and wine essence, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and bay leaves,
  4. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer stir in the chopped sea food and cover,
  5. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes in a 350F oven until all of the liquid has been absorbed,
  6. Remove from the oven fluff with cork and remove bay leaves,
  7. Garnish with the parsley, and basil and serve with cooked sea food or cool and reheat to order with cooked sea seafood.
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Buffet presentation  of Paella for a large group of people is garnished with grilled peppers, onions, calamari, shrimp, scallops, clams and spicy sausage

 

Beef Sante Fe Sandwich

Served hot or cold, sandwiches are the most popular food served for lunch in the United States. In restaurants they make up a large portion of the menu and are the main item served at delis and other fast casual concept restaurants. Normally served as an a la carte plated item, sandwiches can also be served from a buffet under a heat lamp when hot or on a platter or tray when served cold. There are many variations of the classic sandwich with two slices of bread filled with meat. There are some basic tips that everyone should follow to ensure that this style of  sandwich is the best it can be. They are:

  • The meat must be shaved thin; this is the New York Deli secret. Three ounces of meat shaved thin makes the sandwich look much bigger and also yields a much more tender mouth feel than three ounces of thicker cut slices of meat.
  • The ratio of filling to bread must be a least equal to if not more than the amount of bread used, this makes the sandwich moist, tasty and memorable.
  • Spreads like mayonaise, mustard, butter or creamed cheese, must be very flavorful so as to be able to cut thorough the somewhat bland flavor of the bread and enhance the flavor of the meat inside
  • Bread must be fresh and of the best quality available
  • If using roast beef as in the Sante Fe Sandwich the beef must be roasted medium rare, seasoned well and trimmed of any excess fat. I like to use top sirloin as my go to cut for roast beef.
  • When using lettuce and tomato make sure the tomato is ripe. Use two thick slices along with a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper. The lettuce can vary from Boston leaves, shredded Iceberg to Romaine as well as  others.

Sandwiches are so popular and varied that it would take a volume of books to cover all of the different types that are being served and made today. For this post I offer two of my favorite sandwiches that can be served commercially or at home. They are the Roast Beef Sante Fe Sandwich and the Salmon Club Sandwich. The images were taken by Madeline Stanley  at the University Club of MU. I hope you enjoy these two sandwiches as much as I do preparing and eating them.

Santé Fe Grilled Beef Sandwich
Yield 16 sandwiches

Roasted Garlic Chipotle Mayonnaise

3 tablespoons      Chopped Chipotle peppers, re-hydrated and seeded prior to chopping
18 cloves              Roasted garlic, mashed
1/2 cups               Mayonnaise
3 tablespoons      Chopped parsley
To taste                Salt and pepper

Cabbage Jicama Slaw

2 quarts                Julienne cabbage
1 cup                    Julienne jicama
1 cup                    Julienne carrots
1/4 cup                 Chopped cilantro
1/8 cup                 Lime Juice
3/8 cup                 Vegetable oil

3 pounds              Thin sliced roast beef
32 slices               Monterey Jack
32 pieces              Sourdough bread
Olive oil for sauteing the beef and grilling the bread

Method:

  1. In a food processor blend the seeded chopped peppers, garlic, mayonnaise, salt and pepper together
  2. Toss the cabbage, jicama, carrots, cilantro, lime juice, oil, salt and pepper together in a bowl
  3. Spread 2 sides of bread with mayo and top with a slice of cheese on both pieces of bread. Continue this step and the next steps to make 16 sandwiches
  4. Top one side with a thick layer of the cabbage jicama slaw
  5. Sauté the beef, then sandwich it between the bread, slaw and cheese
  6. Brush the outside of the sandwiches with olive oil and grill or pan fry on both sides
  7. Cut in half and serve.

Note: Chipotle peppers are smoked Jalapeno peppers that are then dried.  Jicama is a yam like tuber that can be eaten raw or cooked and is used in Latin American cuisine.

Information on Chipotle peppers

Information on Jicama

 

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Club sandwiches are not as popular today as they were a few years ago. The standard club sandwich that was featured on many menus in the past was made with sliced turkey and Swiss cheese on one layer and a BLT on the other layer. What made it a “Club Sandwich” was the fact that three slices of bread bread were used in this classic type of sandwich. In this version, I use grilled or sauteed salmon with slices of avocado on one layer and the classic BLT on the other side. Instead of plain mayonnaise I use a caper lemon herb mayonnaise made with chopped capers, basil and tarragon. Alfalfa sprouts can be substituted for the Boston lettuce as well.

Sandwiches served with soup, salad, chips or fries will always be a main lunch food item. When created with imagination and adherence to using the best quality ingredients the sandwich can be elevated to an even higher level. Think Dagwood versus Bologna and American Cheese on White bread.

Every year when the lazy hot days of summer are upon us we search for ways to make meals that are lighter and help to cool us down in the heat. In many cultures closer to the Equator spicy hot foods are used to help cool us by making our bodies perspire more. In this country we also like to fire up the BBQ to grill and smoke foods then offer them with chilled salads and fresh fruits.

In this post I offer ideas for salads that go great as a side dish for your outside grilling or as accompaniment for a sandwich or soup. Two of my favorite composed salads are: Greek orzo with grapes and feta, and poached pear, sweet potato, and parsnip salad. I developed these recipes to use in my club’s kitchen and have adapted them to a smaller version which can be made at home. These two photos were taken by Madeline Bayer. To close this post I include an alternative method for presenting a tossed green salad on a platter instead of the normal way of serving it in a bowl.

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Orzo is a Greek pasta and can be purchased as plain or as  tri colored which is the type used in the photo. It is tossed with split seedless grapes, feta cheese and fresh herbs in a light lemon olive oil dressing. It goes great with grilled lamb kabobs, chicken  or fish.

Greek Orzo Salad

Yield 18 servings – approximately 12 cups

Ingredients:

2 quarts                      Orzo, cooked
2 cups                         Seedless grapes, split
1 cup                           Feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing:
¼ cup                         Lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons           Lemon zest, grated
1 cup                          Mayonnaise
½ cup                         Olive oil
½ cup                         Fresh basil, chopped
½ cup                         Fresh mint, chopped
To taste                      Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, mayonnaise, and slowly add the oil while whisking.
  2. Add the basil, mint, salt and pepper.
  3. Toss with the orzo, grapes, and feta cheese. Reserve some grapes and feta to garnish the top.
  4. Chill until served.

 

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This salad can be served in the summer or fall as a tasty side dish to chicken or pork (smoked, grilled, or roasted). The poached pears are lightly grilled and then tossed with roasted parsnips (a root vegetable somewhat like a white carrot), roasted sweet potatoes, celery and golden raisins in a light dressing. To minimize the heat in the kitchen roast the vegetables early in the morning before the heat of the day is at its height.

Pear, Sweet Potato, Parsnip Salad

Yield: 18 servings – Approximately 12 cups

1 quart                        Sweet potatoes, roasted, diced (¾ x ¾)
2 cups                         Parsnips, roasted, diced (¾ x ¾)
2 cups                         Pears, poached, grilled, diced (¾ x ¾)
2 cups                         Celery, peeled, diced ½”x ½”
1 cup                           Golden Raisins
Dressing
½ cup                           Honey
½ cup                           White balsamic
½ cup                           Parsley
1 ½ cup                        Vegetable oil
¼ cup                           Tarragon
1 ½ teaspoons             Cumin powder
To taste                        Salt and pepper

Prepare the dressing by whisking the honey and white balsamic vinegar with the herbs and cumin.

  1. Whisk in the oil in a slow stream to make a vinaigrette
  2. Toss with the vegetables, pears and raisons then chill and serve.

 

Lastly I offer this idea for a green salad. Instead of tossing the ingredients in a bowl, as is the typical procedure, lay out the greens with the condiments on a tray. This creates a more eye appealing presentation. In this example I used summer greens, radishes, thin sliced cucumbers that I rolled up, lightly blanched asparagus, watercress, and some thin mandolin sliced baby carrots that I rolled up as well. To finish the tray I placed some accents of micro greens and then drizzled the tray with white balsamic vinegar and Spanish olive oil.

spring salad platter

Cold vegetables never looked so good!

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Radish flowers with cucumbers

 

With the coming of Spring, vegetables are sprouting again and becoming the darlings of home gardeners. Once harvested they will be featured on many chefs’ menus. In my kitchen I am working on many new presentations and recipes to serve them both at my club and at home as well. Chilled vegetable trays (known as cruditées) are commonly included in many buffets and receptions and too often prepared in a boring and unimaginative way but this does not have to be the case. When created with care they can be lovely and enticing. When artfully paired with dressings, cheese spreads, and chilled salads they can be raised to almost ethereal heights.

Vegetables of Spring
Art imitates life!

 

In this presentation cruditées are served in shot glasses with buttermilk ranch dressing, served on a plate with blanched zucchini ribbons and a carrot curl flower, offset with a inner leaf of purple kale. In my garden I noticed the tulips shared the same color hue as the carrots and couldn’t help but think of how they could be rendered into a playful presentation for a  vegetable presentation.

stuffed celery with blue cheese and vegitables
Radish flowers with cucumbers

Celery stuffed with blue cheese is a common paring of cheese and vegetables. In this rendition I made a spread of Maytag blue cheese and cream cheese and then piped it into the celery before topping it with pickled vegetables. In this case I used baby corn, gherkin pickles, kalamata olives, queen green olives stuffed with pimento and garnished with the inner leaves of celery. Try them with your favorite Martini if you are so inclined.

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Asparagus wrapped with grilled endive stuffed with goat cheese.

 

Blanched marinated asparagus is nothing new to chilled vegetable displays. In these trays I created a two-bite appetizer by wrapping the asparagus with grilled endive leaves  spread with a whipped soft goat cheese. Notice how I cut the asparagus stalks into 2 1/2″ lengths on a bias. This way I was able to utilize two thirds of the stalk instead of just the tips, reserving the woody base for later use in a  asparagus, leek and potato soup.

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Radish flowers with cucumbers

 

These dainty cucumber bases were made with English cucumbers because they contain less seeds then the typical cucumber variety. I created them by first using a channel knife to cut long grooves in the cucumbers before slicing them into one-inch lengths. This not only lends a more artful eye appeal to the cucumber but it also makes them easier to eat since the peel is fibrous and can be hard to chew. The next step was to scoop out the center with a melon baller (classically called a Parisian scoop). After that I piped a cream cheese and butter spread which I call canape butter into the cucumber base. I then cut flowers from radishes and filled them with a pearl couscous salad. I prepared this salad with a light dressing of extra virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar and tiny diced carrots, celery and onions, which I sautéed and cooked with the couscous before chilling and tossing with the vinaigrette. Although these little two bite creations take some time to make they will surely garner compliments from your guests and friends.

One thing is for certain, if you choose to offer cold vegetables in these ways you can surely make this statement- Who says cold vegetables are boring!

Duck, Duck, Goose?

Duck with orange commonly known in as Duck ala Orange.
Roast duck with orange commonly known as Duck a l’Orange.

Duck, Duck, Goose? Maybe the title of this post should be Duck, Duck, Duck! for that is what my family always requests for special occasions. Their favorite home cooked meal – and I must confess mine as well – is a special feast that begins with a duck liver paté. I prepare it while the duck roasts, which we enjoy as an appetizer with some good crackers or toasted French bread. The main meal consists of the roasted ducks with orange (duck a l’orange), rosti potatoes (crisp grated potato sautéed in rendered duck fat), wild rice, green beans with hazelnuts, and braised red cabbage with apples. However, a single dinner is not the end of the enjoyment for this regal fowl.

The next day after the duck carcass has cooled, I remove all of the meat, prepare a duck stock from the bones and then make a duck risotto with wild mushrooms and asparagus. I also like to save the duck fat, which can be stored for up to 3 months, and use it to sautée potatoes and other vegetables when compatible. This is delicious and better for you than butter.

Roasted duck with orange or Canard a l’Orange as it is called in its classical French name is one of the most famous preparations for this tasty bird. Duck is also prized in Eastern cultures, most notably in China where it is often prepared in the classic manner known as Peking Duck, which was originally created for the emperor of China centuries ago and is quite the laborious process. The method to make Peking Duck includes the use of a tire pump to loosen the skin from the meat, the dousing of the duck in a boiling flavorful liquid in a wok and then roasting it hanged from a hook in a special oven to create an extra crispy skin. After the duck is roasted its skin is then carefully trimmed and served with the meat and julienned green onions rolled in thin pancakes with Hoisin dipping sauce. If you have never tried Peking Duck I would highly encourage you to do so if you ever have the chance.

Both western and eastern techniques for roasting ducks produce excellent results. No matter which method is used, when done correctly and with care you can create a magnificent meal.

Here is my home recipe for roast duck with orange- a meal fit for king!

For more information on cooking techniques and products go to http://www.mapleleaffarms.com

duck trussed
Season with duck roasting spice, stuff with oranges and apples and then tie up the legs  prior to slow roasting on the wing bones, necks and mire poix.
duck stock
Halfway through the roasting process drain off the fat and remove the neck and wing bones. Sautee some more fresh mire poix in a small amount of duck fat, add the bones and cover with chicken stock or water to make a rich stock for the sauce.

 

Duck A l’Orange

Yield: 3 to 4 portions

Ingredients:

1 whole duck 5 to 6 lbs.
2 Tbl Duck roasting spice (recipe to follow)
3 oranges
1 apple, cut in wedges
1 onion, peeled and large diced ¾” x ¾”
1 carrot, cut in ½” lengths
1 rib celery, cut in ½” lengths

 Grand Marnier Orange Sauce

¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbl Grand Marnier
½ cup orange juice, squeezed from 2 of the oranges
2 cups duck stock (Made with the duck wings, neck and ½ cup of mirepoix, 3 sprigs parsley, and water or chicken broth, enough to cover the bones)
2 to 3 Tbl Corn starch slurry (cornstarch mixed with equal parts water) to thicken

Optional -1 to 2 teaspoons orange marmalade and candied orange zest, if desired. Candied orange zest is made by peeling and cutting the zest into fine julienne and then blanching and rinsing the zest repeatedly until all of the bitter flavor is removed; the zest then is sweetened by the sugar.

 Duck Roasting Spice

1 Tbl ground bay leaves
1 Tbl ground thyme
1 Tbl rubbed sage
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground mace
2 Tbl Kosher salt or course sea salt
1 Tbl Ground black pepper

Method for duck roasting spice:

Blend all together in coffee grinder and store in a sealed jar.

Method for duck:

Remove the liver from the duck and use for the duck and apple paté. Remove the neck and gizzards. Discard the gizzards or reserve for another use and rinse the neck well.

  1. Place the neck into a roasting pan and cut off the wing bones at the second joint and place into the pan with the onion, celery and carrot (Mirepoix).
  2. Season the duck well inside the cavity and on the outside with 2 Tbl duck roasting spice.
  3. Cut the apple and one orange into quarters and stuff into the cavity and then place into the roasting pan on the mirepoix breast side down.
  4. Prick the duck skin around the legs and breast with a fork. This will help to allow the duck fat to be rendered out of the duck while it is roasting.
  5. Roast in preheated oven at 300F for 1½ hours.
  6. Remove duck from the oven and place it on a platter. Drain off the fat into a small pot. Also remove the wing bones and the neck and place into another pot. Add the mirepoix, and parsley and bring to a simmer while the duck finishes roasting. This is the stock that will be used for the sauce. Then turn duck over and roast for another 45 minutes at 300F.
  7. Remove from the oven and drain off the fat as in step 6 into the small pot. Then raise the heat to 400F and return the duck to the oven breast side up and continue to roast and crisp up the skin for 20 to 30 minutes. The duck is done when the leg joints are loose and the skin is crisp. When done remove from the oven and place onto a platter until sauce and all of the side dishes are prepared.
  8. While the duck is roasting clarify the fat in the small pot over low heat until clear and all the liquid is boiled away. Immediately strain into a bowl. This fat will be used to cook the rosti potatoes for a side dish and is also excellent to cook green beans or cabbage. Reserve leftover fat in the refrigerator for the risotto and other future uses.
gastrique
To start the sauce mix equal parts sugar and red wine vinegar together and cooked down to a dark brown caramel. This is called a Gastrique, an essential step in making an orange sauce.

Method for the sauce:

  1. In a heavy bottom pot combine the sugar and vinegar and cook over high heat until a dark brown caramel is attained, swirling the pot often so as to cook the sugar and vinegar evenly.
  2. Take off the heat and add the Grand Marnier and squeezed orange juice and return to the stove. Reduce the heat to medium and bring to a boil.
  3. Add 2 cups of the duck stock and reduce by half.
  4. Whisk in the slurry until the correct thickness is attained; use more or less to create the proper thickness.
  5. Strain and add orange marmalade and candied orange zest if desired.

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