Always Love A Challenge

I am always one for a good challenge, whether it's a game, new adventure or in the kitchen. A couple of weeks ago I received an email from an acquaintance who asked me to prepare a duck dinner for ten in late March...and they would like the duck prepared two or three ways. Now just because I had never prepared duck gave me no reason to decline the invitation. So with the confidence of someone that frequently prepares duck, I heartily accepted.

I decided that I would develop a menu showcasing the duck in three courses, appetizer, salad, and entree. (I haven't been watching Top Chef all these years for nothing!) I scoured my recipes and many from the Internet and decided to make Beggar's purses filled with duck, dried cranberries and raisins as an appetizer, duck confit on a bed of wild greens and mushrooms as the salad, and pan seared duck breast with a red wine reduction for the entree. Before presenting this menu to the client, I first ran it past my friend Ahmad Nourzad, the executive chef at Affairs to Remember Caterers in Atlanta. Having received his blessing, I proceeded to 'practice' using a whole duck. Once I was satisfied that the menu was not only tasty, but beautiful, I met with the client. She was ecstatic! She was so thrilled with the menu that she asked me to prepare a menu card to enclose with the invitations.

Trois Fa├žons de Canard

Home of Sharon and Barry Marcum
March 28, 2009

Appetizer Course

Duck, Cranberry and Dark Raisin filled Beggar’s Purses
Gourmet Cheese Selection
Sun-dried Tomato Spread
Selection of Gourmet Crackers

Salad Course

Duck Confit on a Bed of Wild Greens and Mushrooms drizzled with Lemon Vinaigrette

Main Course

Seared Duck Breast with a Red Wine Reduction
Fillet of Beef Tenderloin with a Port Wine Reduction

Butternut Squash Risotto
Haricot Verts seasoned with Lemon Zest and Olive Oil

Dessert Course

Lemon Tart accented with Fresh Raspberries

As I have said in earlier posts, Regis, my husband, is my food critic. He approached the tasting with the mindset that he was not going to like it because he is not usually fond of duck. By the end he not only said that it was superb, but that I could prepare it for him again ! That is the highest compliment. Of course I'll "dress" the plate for the clients but in my test kitchen I am a minimalist. I'll let you know how it goes. From my vantage it's going to be a "quacking" success.

From the whole duck...

to the pieces...

to the final product.