Duck is one of my favorite meats. It’s rich and flavorful and if you can find a high-quality provider the gaminess some people dread is nonexistent. When I can’t find it locally I go to my online source D’artagnan they offer everything you can think of when it comes to high-quality meats. If you’re wanted to truly splurge this holiday season check out their selections of turkey and geese!
I recently posted about this recipe in With Autumn Comes the Pear. I wanted to go more in-depth on this dinner and share how I reached the final dish.
Over the holiday season of 2014 my husband and I went to the east coast for a week and ate at a few places that really sparked my excitement about fine dining. Then as part of our winter travels we ended up in California to see some friends and ate at more amazing places. Let me tell you nothing sparks food creativity like eating at top notch restaurants. So after all the traveling was over I decided it was time to build a cookbook library to arm myself with great recipes, great inspiration and great resources.
Armed with all of this I then started upping my cooking game. I tried new recipes and new techniques only to get me excited to try more ideas. This lead me to stumbling across Fine Cooking Magazines issue 126 from that holiday season. In it they had this recipe.
The picture wasn’t that inspiring but the name hooked me. Then looking at the ingredients I then started thinking about the pears, hmm, could I do something more with the pear? I keep looking and then saw it also had pistachios in the relish…could I do anything interesting with pistachios?
I was getting excited about these ideas so I went to my Michelin star chefs cookbook and found in Eleven Madison Park a recipe for Pistachio Crumble. Then in Alinea I found a recipe for Roasted Pear Purée. I thought about how well apple sauce goes with pork and that a pear purée might have the same kind of relationship to the duck. I then thought about with rich meats and a sweet purée maybe something of a different texture and maybe a bit more saltiness would be good and the pistachio crumble did just that. The fun thing with the crumble was that you first basically are making hard caramel covered pistachios. In a pot you make your caramel, add your pistachios, and then spread them out on a sheet pan to harden. Then brake them up and blitz them in a foo processor. I was able to reserve a few of these candied covered nuts as a garnish for the dish.
The meal came out better than I could have hoped and is one I am sure to revisit in the future.