25 April 2007

Last night I saw duck legs for $4.99/lb. And supposedly all-natural all-of-that. (Breasts at at least twice that, naturally.) As I've wanted to make duck for a while now (since realizing that duck, unlike chicken, has flavor), I figured I'd give it a go. I'd had confit, magret and breast before, but never a leg that wasn't confit.

I looked through recipes, most of the books I have sugesting roasting or braising, but mostly as a duck or a breast or a leg confit. I ended up marinating the legs in a Côtes du Rhone with rosemary and sage for an hour, then searing until caramelized and braising until "done." Well, had I not forgotten my research, that should take about an hour and a half. Not the forty minutes that - maybe, if that - I gave myself.

The leek-potato soup that I distractedly made earlier-and-during, as well as the earlier-and-during baguettes, were a bit sad, the former not thick enough and the latter not light enough. The soup was good, and the bread wonderful with gravy, just not my best effort. (The bread I had tried as an overnight rise, which was part of the problem. In cast iron and free-form is one thing; in a baguette form is another.)

Anyway, duck, braised, with spinach sautéed in duck fat (and fond) with a quarter preserved lemon and a reduction of the braising liquid was delicious but a bit tough. I took the second leg and roasted it, so we'll see how the twice cooked leg fairs tomorrow for lunch.

On a literary note, started a cover-to-cover read of South Wind Through the Kitchen, an Elizabeth David collection. She refused to sell garlic presses at the shop that she owned. Sigh. And, for the moment, I sell high-end culinary gadgets -- no, "tools," claims the Rösle rep., -- for a living. Some things are tools, some things are gimmicks. (Who am I to make the distinction?)

I purchased Euell Gibbons's Stalking the Wild Asparagus tonight. That and the David book (and Mann's Joseph...) at once. Gibbbons makes me wish it were fall and I had the foraging skills of a squirrel and I'd make acorns into acorn meal, and then acorn meal into acorn pancakes. I like that he admits that much of the edible flora he omits from the book as it's edibly inedible. It makes him seem a bit more reasonable.

And that makes me think of a delicious succulent green that I ate up the slopes of Mount Eisenhower with my 12th grade Biology teacher. Joseph Rodrigues, what became of you? And what was that plant?