Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Celebrating Marriage with Heavy Cream

Happy 2nd Anniversary to me and Chris! What did I give him this year? An extra 5 pounds by forcing him to inhale this menu:

  • Cowgirl Creamery's Mt. Tam and water crackers (washed down with a bottle of Domaine Chandon's Riche) Mt. Tam is pretty much my favorite cheese. It's a lovely triple-cream that is a lot like brie but with a smoother flavor.
  • Salad of baby greens, blue cheese, pears and pancetta crumbles with a port dressing. To make the dressing, I simmered a cup of port (the cheap cooking kind, not real port) with a diced shallot until it was reduced by half. Then I strained it, added a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh thyme. It was surprisingly sweet and mellow and went well with the blue cheese, which had a lot of kick.
  • An unbelievable Samoa cheesecake (Culinary Concoctions by Peabody) Mine was not nearly as pretty as Peabody's, but it sure was good!
Duck Au Poivre
I had a hard time finding a recipe for exactly what I was looking for, so I combined the cooking instructions from this recipe (The Gilded Fork) with the sauce from this one (Epicurious). Just thinking of this sauce makes me drool. I will definitely be making it with steak sometime soon.

4 duck breast halves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns (I used Penzy's French style peppercorns)
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup Cognac or other brandy
3/4 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Score the skin side of the duck almost through to the meat in a crisscross pattern. Mix the peppercorns and salt and rub on both sides of duck breast.

Heat heavy-bottom skillet over low heat. When skillet is hot, place breast skin side down. Brown the duck without turning. Discard any fat throughout the process. About 7 minutes.

Turn the duck over. Place skillet into preheated oven for 5 minutes, or until center is rare. Remove from oven. Let rest on a board for 5-7 minutes. For service, slice duck, skin side up on a 45-degree angle, into thin slices.

Pour off fat from skillet, then add shallots and half of butter (2 tablespoons) to skillet and cook over moderately low heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until shallots are well-browned all over, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add Cognac (use caution; it may ignite) and boil, stirring, until liquid is reduced to a glaze, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cream and any meat juices accumulated on platter and boil sauce, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and cook over low heat, swirling skillet, until butter is incorporated(not the most appetizing picture of the duck, I know. You will just have to take my word for how awesome it was)


Peabody said...

I'm so glad you liked the cheesecake.

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