Sunday, February 6, 2011

It was a very "special"-less Sunday

Sorry I didn't get Sunday specials posted for you. It was a crazy fabulous busy day with loads of good food and too few people serving it! I'd like to publicly give kudos to Graham who practically ran the kitchen solo for the past two days (and without an audible grumble). My friend Anne, who has been there every time I've ever called - Anne could you paint the bathroom? Anne would you fix my knitting? Anne would you come wash dishes? And she did. Of course it cost me a waffle and latte, but she did do a very good job.

For those of you who have been keeping up with my charcuterie goings on, duck breast prosciutto made an appearance today as Cured Duck Shitake Egg Hash. For the purposes of Charcutepalooza, pictures and recipes or it didn't happen. Please forgive the quick, less than artistic phone camera shot of what was a very tasty and well received brunch special.

First, there was a lovely duck bought from the folks at the Pennsylvania Dutch Market in Hunt Valley. The breast were removed to be cured. The fat rendered and legs made into confit. Finally, the carcass was roasted and made a wonderful stock.

The duck breast were prepared using Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie as a guide (he also has the duck breast process on his blog if you hear the muse of meat curing call). Frankly, I was less than overwhelmed with initial impressions of my product. Not too salty. Not too gamey. But not the real "Ta-dah" of flavor I was expecting either. And the texture was ..... duck gummy bear.

Until it hit a hot pan! Then those paper thin slivers of breast practically stood up and sang the Hallelujah Chorus - damn they were tasty! Someone, who will go unnamed, said the words fatty and salty in tones usually reserved for private moments with a very special someone (who's breasts, it is safe to assume, are not of the duck variety).

And for my comrades in charcuterie, the merry masses of Charcutepalooza, here's what went down in the kitchen today.

Cured Duck Shitake Egg Hash
4 medium new potatoes, diced finely
1 large shallot, finely minced
4 oz. shitake mushrooms, sliced
4 oz. duck prosciutto, very, very thinly sliced
4 oz. spinach
handfull of shredded parmesan cheese
12 eggs (we use fresh local eggs from Springfield Farm)
1/2 cup of half & half
a dollop of rendered duck fat (maybe a tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper,

Arrange duck slices in a large non-stick skillet and briefly heat, turning once. Some fat will be released. Set meat aside. Add a dollop of fat the the skillet and over medium heat saute potatoes and shallot until potatoes have started to brown. Add mushrooms and continue to saute for just a few minutes. While the mushrooms are cooking, julienne the duck. Add the duck and spinach to the vegetable mixture, stir to incorporate and remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, cream and pepper. Stir the sauteed meat & vegetable mixture, as well as the cheese into the eggs. Pour into a well greased (or silicone) baking pan.

Baked in a 9" square silicone pan at 350° for 35-40 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes before cutting and serving. Makes 6 servings.

Notes: Although we served this hot, I think it would be delicious at room temperature. Would also make a very fine quiche filling with some adjustment to the egg/cream ratio. Also, if you are interested in raw meat pics, the butchered duck can be found here.