Friday, 22 April 2011

Charcuterie de canard AKA Duckapalooza

I think Raymond Blanc is my very favourite Frenchman. He comes across on TV as charming, funny and quite cuddly and adorable. I have been lucky enough to eat at his restaurant Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons a couple of times and the extraordinarily detailed, precise yet clean-flavoured dishes they serve do nothing to reduce my Raymond-love.

Naturally, therefore, I have been hanging on his every word in the latest season of Kitchen Secrets.

Raymond says duck ham is easy, so I make duck ham. My fridge doesn't have nifty little hanging bars, so I put the muslin-wrapped bundle on a cake rack over a plate. Very interesting tip about the fresh thyme inhibiting microbial growth.

From the ham (which turned out to be lovely and supple; perfectly flavoured), my ideas spiralled a bit out of control.

I knew I wanted to serve the ham with the spiced orange slices I made a few weeks ago (a nod to the classic duck a l'orange - and Australians know I am doing the Bundy Bear pronunciation) so that got me thinking of a duck-based charcuterie platter.

A duck liver parfait, based on Raymond's chicken liver parfait, seemed like a good idea. I used dry amontillado sherry instead of madeira and ruby port, and reduced the amount of egg and butter, because I wasn't planning to turn it out. And I just topped it with melted butter, instead of a mixture of butter and lard.

I also made a dish of duck and cognac rillettes. If I had used a bit of foresight, I would have bought a whole duck and butchered it for the ham and rillettes, but I wasn't that organised - I bought a pack of duck legs.

A freshly baked baguette and some crunchy cornichons (the only element I didn't make myself, as it happens) and we had a meal fit for royalty. Or for any French chefs who happen to be passing.

14 comments:

Simona said...

Wow, Alicia, what a nice spread in the last photo! I must admit I am not a fan of duck, but that ham got me really curious.

azelias kitchen said...

It's on my list of things to do when I saw him doing it. And like you I've eaten there a few times and enjoyed the experience, one time happen to meet him and he was as charming and friendly in person as he comes across on tv.

He just happens to have the happiest staff I ever had the pleasure of being served by, they are efficient as you would expect but friendly and happy, makes a great difference to efficient and snooty as some other places.

The Cat's Mother said...

Where to begin? Which to taste first? How delicious!

Deb in Hawaii said...

You amaze me--everything looks wonderful. I love duck in all its forms. ;-) That is interesting on the thyme but I have read a lot on its healing properties and antibacterial properties so it makes sense. ;-)

Foodycat said...

Simona - the ham doesn't taste "ducky" it tastes "hammy" if you see what I mean.

Azelia - lucky you to have met him! The staff do seem very happy.

Mother - Start with the parfait, it really is amazing.

Deb - it just hadn't occurred to me that fresh thyme would be so much better for that.

girlichef said...

I want to sit down in front of this beautiful spread! Everything turned out so beautifully...nice :D

kat said...

Wow, I tip my hat to you!

Foodycat said...

Heather - you would be welcome to join us!

Kat - thanks! All remarkably straightforward, really.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Duck-tastic! Well done, you!

I, too, was tempted by the duck ham, so now I know it's perfectly achievable by us mere mortals, I'll give it a go. Great for salads, I'd imagine.

hungryandfrozen said...

Oh wow, this ALL looks so delicious. I love the idea of Duck Ham (it's even fun to say) and that parfait sounds amazingly good. Unfortunately duck's a bit expensive here but if I ever come into a windfall of it, I'll know who to turn to.

Foodycat said...

Forkful - seriously easy, do try it!

Laura - your holiday sounded amazing! Glad you are home safe, even if duck is expensive.

Su-Lin said...

I am sooo impressed that you made all these! I love duck ham and it's great to know that one can make it at home.

wildtomato said...

The parfait and the rillettes are on the "must make" list now!

Foodycat said...

Su-Lin - it was easier than I expected.

Wild tomato - I will certainly make that parfait again.

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