duck breast, rosemary; mizuma; treviso, thyme, balsamic

For some time I’ve been telling myself that I should devise a way to indicate, at least for my own information, those meals that worked out particularly well, meals, or plates in some cases, that were absolutely scrumptious. I’m going to try something out for the first time with this post: I’ll use a red asterisk above the first line of text for those special cases. This meal deserved it, perhaps even more for my having begun it with no special expectations. There wasn’t anything really new in the ingredients or the processes, and yet each of the 3 elements in the main course was absolutely delicious, and each was a perfect compliment to the other 2. The cheese and the fruit were equally excellent, although I had nothing to do with making either, and the wine was absolutely extraordinary!

  • * one small (12-ounce) duck breast from Hudson Valley Duck Farm, the fatty side scored in tight cross hatching with a very sharp knife, the entire breast then sprinkled top and bottom with a mixture of sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a little turbinado sugar, left standing for almost an hour, then seared/pan-fried inside a small oval enameled cast iron pan over medium heat, the fatty side down first, for a total of 9 minutes or so, turning once, draining the oil after the first few minutes [to be strained and used in cooking later, if desired], removed when medium rare, cutting it into 2 portions to confirm that the center was of the right doneness (and, as usual it was still undercooked, so the 2 halves were briefly returned to the pan), then left to sit for a couple minutes before being finished with a drizzle of juice from an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market, a little chopped rosemary from S. & S.O. Farm, and a drizzle of olive oil [NOTE: the tenderloin had been removed from the breast before it was marinated, but seasoned like the rest of it, then fried very briefly near the end of the time the larger section was cooking]

  • * a handful of fresh mizuma from Alewife Farm scattered on the plate and dressed with olive oil , sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper

  • * one medium head of Treviso radicchio from Tamarack Hollow Farm, washed, the liquid drained and wiped off, cut lengthwise into four sections, arranged one cut side up on a medium Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic oven pan (after securing the leaves with toothpicks), covered with lots of thyme branches from S. & S.O. Farm, seasoned generously with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, drizzled with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, baked in a pre-heated 400º oven for 10 minutes or so, turned to the other cut side and returned to the oven for around 8 minutes, then turned uncut side up and baked for about 2 minutes more, arranged on the plates, drizzled with a very small amount of balsamic vinegar

There was a small cheese course..

  • * ‘Bigelow’, a goat cheese from Ardith Mae, very thin toasts from a loaf of ‘8 Grain 3 Seed’ bread from Rock Hill Bakery, and a few chopped leaves of rosemary from S. & S.O. Farm

..and fruit.

  • * Niagara grapes [vitis labrusca ‘Niagara’] from Troncillito Farms