Still trying to address my stash of root vegetables, I feel that I made some progress with this meal, whose whole was even greater than the sum of its parts, even as the parts were pretty terrific. I would be happy to take credit any day of the year for a dinner that tasted this good, but certainly much of its success was purely chance. The three major elements and the treatment of each, except perhaps for the duck breast, to which I was committed as soon as I decided to defrost it last night, were pretty much cobbled together at the last minute.
- a small (11 ounces for the two of us) duck breast from Pat laFrieda, purchased at Eataly, its fatty side scored with hash marks and brushed with a mix of salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar, and allowed to rest for about half an hour before being pan-fried, finished (four minutes or so on each side) with a squeeze of lemon, some chopped rosemary from Queens County Farm, and a drizzle of olive oil
- small golden beets from Eataly, trimmed and scrubbed, the stem end then peeled, the roots cut into thirds (yeah, ‘thirds’, just to make it difficult, but mostly because of their middling size), tossed with olive oil and fennel, then spread, rounded side down, onto an oven pan on a surface of kosher salt, and roasted at 450º for about 45 minutes, sprinkled with freshly-ground black pepper, served with shavings of a good Parmesan cheese
- Savoy cabbage from Hoeffner Farms, outer leaves only (in order to preserve the remainder of the cabbage for another day), sliced very thinly, seasoned with salt and pepper and sautéed in butter over medium high heat for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender and the leaves had begun to brown and crisp slightly at the edges
- the wine was a Spanish red, Vivanco Crianza Rioja 2010
- the happy, generous music was Mozart and Da Ponte’s ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’, with René Jacobs conducting Concerto Köln and Collegium Vocale Köln