My favorite time of year for cooking is finally here and we have just launched our new fall menu. Over the next week or so, I will be sharing pictures and stories about our new menu items on our page.
The first dish I would like to introduce is my favorite dish on the fall menu that is a completely new addition; the Duck Confit. Duck Confit has been one of my favorite ways to enjoy duck since I first encountered it as a student at The Culinary Institute of America. I was very excited when a local farmer approached me about using his duck on our menu. He raises ducks for egg production, so he was looking for an outlet for his male ducks. He brought me a sample duck, and I decided to prepare the entire duck confit style. It was delicious! My kitchen staff and I enjoyed preparing it in many ways and enjoying it for lunch for several days.
For those of you who do not know what “confit” is, here is a very simplified explanation. This method is an old world style of preserving meat so it wont spoil as quickly. The duck is butchered and rubbed with a cure/spice mixture and pressed for a couple of days. This allows the salt to extract the moisture from the meat, while the meat absorbs the spice flavor. Then the meat is rinsed to remove all the excess salt and spices and allowed to dry out on a rack in the cooler until a pellicle (dry skin) forms on the surface. Then the meat is submerged in a bath of hot duck fat and slow cooked until the meat is tender and falls off the bone, similar to pulled pork. The meat is cooled in the fat to allow it to reabsorb some of the fat and to prevent the air from getting to the meat. The absence of water/moisture and air preserve the meat.
The final preparation came about kind of “on the fly” one afternoon as I was doing some early morning cooking. My intention was to get some cooking done early, then hand off the kitchen to my Sous Chef and enjoy a weekend in Lake Placid with our GM, Barry as he celebrated his 40th birthday. Unfortunately, my Sous Chef became ill, and I had to cancel my weekend. I wanted to celebrate with Barry anyway, so I went into my kitchen and invented this dish. We enjoyed it with some fresh baked baguette and a wonderful bottle of Super Tuscan wine. It was a great lunch with a great friend. Sometimes the best dishes just come out of nowhere.
M&M Farm Duck Confit with Northwoods Farm mushrooms, brandy-peppercorn sauce and potato gnocchi. Served in a “nest” of organic baby arugula that is dressed with truffle oil, Pecorino cheese and fresh ground pepper and topped with a poached duck egg.
Bon Appetite! Chef Brian