Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sunday Supper #2 Quack, Quack!

For Sunday Supper #2 we focused on Duck. After the first Sunday Supper we thought we should focus in one animal and make a three to four course meal out of that animal. The duck was especially fun for me because they are so fat! Loretta had been practicing her flatbread and I had a pork belly curing so we really wanted to incorporate those elements to show our craftsmanship.

The Menu:
My thoughts are in red

We started with two pintxos (sorry no pictures on these ones):

Duck liver pate with fresh orange and chives
This dish was nice, I balanced the liver with some sherry vinegar to tone it down a bit as well as some fresh herbs. I was hoping that it was not just a dish only a liver lover can appreciate.

White bean puree, duck confit, and confit mushrooms

We had a couple legs and thighs left after we decided the menu on paper so I put them on to confit over night with some pretty miatake mushrooms. I was happy with this pintxo.

First Course: Duck Consomme with preserved lemon, fennel and crispy juniper bacon
I made a rich, sexy duck stock and seasoned it with star anise, juniper berries and some smoked paprika. The little hints of flavor can be perfected but the addition of a crispy piece of bacon at the end was my favorite element.

Second Course: Olive Flatbread with pan seared duck breast, caramelized onion, apple and manchego cheese
Loretta's flatbread was spot on. We have some tweaking to do to the cook time but the flavor profile of this dish was pretty solid. We tested this dish twice before serving it, we kinda like it.

Third Course: Relleno de Calamari, squid stuffed with homemade duck sausage and potatoes with salsa brava and mache salad

This dish came from an experiment at Colors in NYC. I had a menu item called Daily Seafood Preparation or something which basically meant I could do whatever i wanted under the broad umbrella of seafood. I had a sample of hot Italian style sausage from my meat guy so I thought I'd cook it up with some potatoes and stuff the mixture into calamari and grill I did...and it was good. I applied the same idea but used duck sausage that I made at home which I tested at Thanksgiving. The salsa brava adds a nice bite of acid and heat while the fatty sausage complements the lean meat of the calamari. We also gently deep fried the tentacles for a little textural contrast. This dish was well received by my guest. I think it's a keeper.

Final Course: Crema catalana ice cream with olive oil cake

We tried...we're not pastry people but we put this out there anyway. The flavor was right but the cake was just not quite there. We have more success in this department when we keep it simple...and I mean really simple. We'll work it out!

Our general feedback was incredibly positive. The challenges we faced with this supper was the large crowd. We found ourselves with fifteen hungry guests in our home, most of which work in the food industry and are self professed foodies. To be honest we didn't think everyone we invited were gonna show so we kept inviting and inviting. Loretta decided that I should be the front of house for this supper which was probably not the best thing for us but I muscled through it...clearing plates, trying not to spill on people and making sure we were on track in the kitchen. The conversation was stimulating. A bit off topic at some points but I think we fed everyone too much wine. Upon talking over our concept with everyone, a couple of our guests said that we "don't have to worry about the food" and that we should focus on our story. "What story? We're opening a restaurant", I thought. It has to be about the food! We have to keep pushing the envelope and keep trying to invent and create and learn. That's what this is all about! No?

Photos by Christina Yamasaki (thanks X)


  1. I have nothing of substance to say. I just want you to know that I love that you ended your post with "no?"

  2. Wow those photos are so great...who was the photographer? :)