pan-fried duck breast; roast turnip; sautéed cabbage


We enjoyed this pretty wintry meal on Sunday, even if it had already seemed we had probably finally moved into spring.

There was a reason for it looking like serious cold weather fare, since I had brought home almost all of the vegetables from the Greenmarket in the middle of winter, although I had picked up the duck only in the past week.  I was probably thinking of the roots and cabbage when I grabbed the duck from the refrigerator case at Eataly.

I started defrosting the breast the day before.  I’ve had the turnips for a month, but yesterday at the last minute I realize that there were only two small-ish roots remaining from the larger stash with which I had started weeks before;  I added one russet potato to the mix.  The cabbage has also been around for longer than I want to admit (okay, I’ve been occasionally peeling leaves off of the head for more than a full month), but its flavor has also survived the winter undiminished, a virtue which must have endeared it to our northern ancestors long ago.

  • a small duck breast from Pat LaFrieda at Eataly, the fatty side scored, covered with salt, pepper and a bit of turbinato sugar infused over time with a vanilla bean, then left standing for about half an hour before it was pan-fried, finished with lemon, chopped tarragon from Eataly, and a bit of olive oil
  • two purple-top turnips from Norwich Meadows Farm, plus one Russet potato from Samascott Orchards, all cut into half-inch pieces, tossed with oil, a few cut baby leeks from Rogowski Farm, salt, and pepper, roasted in an unglazed ceramic pan for about half an hour at 425º  [Note:  I was in a hurry, and not thinking, but the leeks should really have been tossed with the roots only near the end of the cooking time]
  • white cabbage from Foragers, using only some of the leaves (again, in order to preserve the remainder of the cabbage for another day), sliced very thinly, tossed with salt, pepper, and three juniper berries, sautéed in a little butter over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the leaves were tender and had begun to brown and (hopefully) crisp slightly at the edges, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar then added and heated briefly, the dish finished with chopped parsley from Rogowski Farm
  • the wine was a California red, White Hart Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2011, from Chelsea Wine Vault
  • the music was Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, Manfred Honeck conducting the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra