One of the new avenues I’ve chosen to connect with friends and fellow food bloggers is through a program called Twitter. Here you can read up on what your friends and favourite bloggers are doing. If you’re on Twitter, look me up under “Kalofagas”.
One such friend is Heather from Gild the Voodoolily and we’ve been having a “tete a tete” a la Bugs Bunny vs. Daffy Duck. I’m sure many of you remember this famous exchange between Bugs and Daffy, don’t you? To do this day, the Warner Bros. cartoons are the most entertaining of any animation out there.
I’ve proclaimed it “DUCK SEASON”, Heather insists it’s “Wabbit Season”. You can take a look at her take on rabbit with a comforting, sexy rabbit ravioli.
I’ve had duck on my mind for awhile. This summer’s been a wash-out with so much rain that some of my herbs look sick from too much rain.
I come back from Greece and the north-east has been getting pounded by the remnants of hurricanes from down South.
There’s a saying about rain…”nice weather if you’re a duck”! Fitting that I dispatch a duck, non?
I was left with a conundrum…duck confit or breast? After reading up on how to save money buying duck (buy the whole thing and cut it up yourself) at Eating Club Vancouver, I knew I was closer to “DUCK SEASON”.
I’ve never cut up a whole duck before but other than the legs being a jointed a little tighter to the breasts, the task was quite easy and I saved some coin.
So, on to mission duck. I’ve chosen seasonal ingredients, added some Greek flavours to the dish and made what I feel is a fall classic…seared duck breast with roasted plum sauce, grilled polenta with mint and medley of wild mushrooms.
The duck breast was marinated in a blend that I will try with other meats. When I opened the zip-block and smelled the marinated duck, I though to myself this duck would taste great with just the flavours of the marinade.
Next on the plate is a side I saw Greek chef Dina Nikolaou present with her own duck. It’s polenta with fresh mint and Greek yogurt in it. Make this side ahead of time as you need to allow it to cool before grilling. I simply used Tupperware as a mould then I cut the polenta into the desired shapes and grilled/seared them “a la minute”. This side was a pleasant surprise and it has me gravitating towards eating polenta more!
Finally, what fall dish would be complete without a saute of mushrooms? I’m not going to lay down a recipe for mushrooms here as I simply sauteed my mushrooms in butter and olive oil with some garlic, salt and pepper and only some oregano and fresh sage to round out their earthy flavours.
Here you have it folks…DUCK SEASON and I’ve laid all out for your down below. Enjoy!
Seared Duck Breast with Grilled Polenta and Wild Mushrooms
( for 2)
3 duck breasts
1/4 cup olive oil
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. of mixed cracked peppercorns
1 tsp. of cracked coriander seeds
1 Tbsp. of minced ginger (or a inch piece)
small handful of fresh parsley
coarse sea salt
3 very ripe, sweet plums (juicy)
1/4 cup shallots, finely diced
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup of Mavrodaphne (or other fortified wine)
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
sugar to taste
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
Grilled Polenta With Yogurt and Mint
2 cups of instant polenta
5 cups of stock (or water)
4 Tbsp. olive oil
half a bunch of fresh mint, chiffonade
1 cup of strained Greek yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
- Trim any excess fat off the duck breasr and then score in 1 inch intervals. To a food processor, add the olive oil, garlic, thyme, parsley, ginger, coriander seeds and peppercorns and process to a coarse paste. Now place the marinade into a zip-lock bag with the duck breasts and massage the contents so that the marinade adheres to all of the meat. Seal and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.
- Bring back to room temperature and pre-heat your oven to 400F. Season your duck breasts with some coarse sea salt and a little black pepper. Place a skillet (large enough for the three breasts) on to medium heatt and sear the breasts (fat side down) for five minutes (draining fat as it acccumulates).
- Flip over the breasts and add your halved plums to the side. Now place the skillet in the oven and roast for another 5-7 minutes for a medium-rare duck breast. Carefully remove your skillet (hot handle) and remove your breasts and tent with foil while preparing the sauce.
- In the same skillet (the plums stay), add your shallots and saute for a minute. Now add the stock, wine, vinegar and reduce until the sauce becomes half and thick. Adjust seasoning with some sugar and take off the heat and add your cold butter to thicken the sauce. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- By now your duck breasts have rested and you may now cut them into slices. Pour some sauce on the plate and fan the slices over top with some plum halves. Serve with a side of grilled polenta and sauteed mushrooms.
- Add your stock into a pot and bring to a boil. While stirring with a wooden spoon, slowly pour in your polenta and keep stirring to prevent burning or from lumps forming.
- As soon as the polenta mixture starts to come away from the sides, remove from the heat.
- Now you may add your olive oil, chopped mint and strained yogurt and mix in until blended. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Place in a container (mould) and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate into a solid.
- To grill or sear, brush some oil on your polenta pieces and grill on high heat just to form grill marks and to warm through.
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