05 November 2013

Duck, Duck, Goose

How To Spot  An Only Child
To spot an only child, yell "duck" in a crowded room.  People raised with sibling will intuitively cover their head and crouch.  An only child will raise its head and ask, "Where is the duck?  What kind of duck is it?"

Hank Shaw offers up a lot of answers to the only child and others in his book Duck, Duck, Goose.   Duck, Duck, Goose is Shaw's second book.  Hunt, Gather, Cook is one of our favorites.  (And, as we have said before, we were absolutely sure, we had written about that book and it seems we have not!  Shame on us.)

So, you always order duck in a restaurant, but rarely cook it.  You have hear all those scary stories of how duck is soooooo fatty, and it will be greasy and tough and gamy and on and on.  Not true.  Not if you follow Shaw's hints and tips.  Just take a breath, read the recipes and you will be on your way to making a perfect, succulent fowl.   Not to mention that Shaw has always been a great defender of our favorite fowl part, the gizzard.  We are definitely making a big batch of corned gizzards. 

The adventurous among us can grab a gun and shoot your own duck, which Shaw often does.  Not the shooting type?  Well, just pick up a duck at the grocery store. It will be easier than you think.  Either way, you will quickly learn that duck does not taste like chicken, but it might just be that easy to cook.

Who doesn't love a good duck confit.  If it seems another of those "too much trouble" recipes, Shaw's Crock Pot recipe will have you whipping up confit this Saturday.  From a personal standpoint, we feel that any meat braised to the point of falling off the bone perfection is the best sauce for a pasta.  Duck Confit is no exception.

Duck Confit with Pasta and Lemon

Make sure you have all of the ingredients prepped before you start cooking, as this dish comes together quickly. Have the water boiling, and give it plenty of salt; you want it to taste of the sea. 
2 confit duck legs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon duck fat, or as needed
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound fresh tagliatelle
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Grated lemon zest, for garnish
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
Meanwhile, pick all of the meat off the duck legs and reserve the skin. Tear the meat and skin into small pieces. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon duck fat, and the duck meat and skin. Turn the heat down to medium.
Generously salt the boiling water, then add the pasta and stir well. 
Add the garlic to the sauté pan and mix well. Watch the garlic: the moment it begins to brown, turn off the heat. When the pasta is al dente, drain it into a colander, then
add it to the sauté pan. Alternatively, use tongs to transfer it from the boiling water to the sauté pan. Turn on the heat to medium and toss the pasta to coat well with all of the ingredients, adding more duck fat if the mixture seems too dry. Season with pepper, add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, and toss again. Taste and add the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice if you want. Serve immediately, garnished with the lemon zest.

On a personal note:   On three separate occasions we have missed meeting Hank Shaw.  It seems we are always a day early for one his readings and frankly we are getting sick of it.   We were very happy to actually see Hank Shaw hunting with Andrew Zimmern.  We watch a lot of cooking shows and would like to say that Hank Shaw should have his own show.   He has a different point of view, he has won a James Beard Award, he has a cool website. so come on, give him a show.

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