Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Struggle Gets Dishy: Just Ducky

Every once in a while I get the urge for new foods. I mean, like, entirely new, I want a new bird or a new animal or a new vegetable or something. Not just something I haven't eaten in a while or tried before and I certainly don't intend to eat bugs and pretend that's awesome or what have you, but an amazing new type of food. Like a new thing that isn't chicken but works like chicken. That would be amazing. 

Of course, I have yet to find such a thing, and given that I'm not taking any deep space journeys any time soon (though not for lack of trying...stupid NASA), I sometimes have to fool myself with foods, I hide them or wont buy them for a long period of time to try to trick my palette into forgetting about them so that when I encounter them again I can almost believe that this is true novelty. I've read about how cats normalize themselves to toys and then lose interest, only to rediscover them with the joy of a new exploration, but I had to stop reading about it, because when you get to the point in the day with you envy your cats it's time to take a long look in the mirror and maybe pour yourself a drink.

This normalizing thing can backfire, though. Because sometimes you re-encounter a food, say, cherries, and then all you want to do for like two weeks straight is shotgun cherries and you even consider a move to Wisconsin because wouldn't that just make perfect sense? This is another point in time when you might want to take a shot of something bracing and shake it off. Just saying. So when Ben and I made duck a few weeks ago, it kind of got me going, and now all I want to do is eat duck. So as it turns out my last duck post shall be one in a series of three. Welcome to the second of three tales of marine ornithological adventures. Get excited. 

Pasta with Duck and Asparagus and white wine:
2 duck breasts
1 pound of asparagus, ends cut off, cut into 2 inch pieces on a bias
2 shallots, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of white wine
olive oil
salt, pepper
As much pasta as you and your family, guests or pets care to consume. 

I'm going to include a lot more photos then usual because A. I like photos and B. I have the photos and C. this is a visually lovely meal, so you deserve to see it frame by frame. 

The issue that I have with duck, in fact, one a lot of people have with duck, is how fatty it is. Duck, especially duck breast, is basically a fatty no friends, which is excellent if you are an aquatic bird who lives in chilly waters and wants to stay alive and execute your biological imperative, but less useful if you are a human being who doesn't want to consume huge amounts of duck fat. And it is, of course, delicious, most things that are horrible for you are. When I was in London last year for New Years, Andrew and I (hi, Andrew!) had a discussion then went like this: Duck Fat? Love it! But my god, we will be the fattest people ever, and we will die alone. Can we take that risk? Well, maybe just this once.....

Or twice. Or 20 odd times. It's fantastic, but it's not for every day. So this recipe, we will cut off all the duck fat and keep it in reserve: 
And this would be a good time to boil it in a small saucepan with a little bit of water and then cool it to congeal. And that will look like this:
This does not look magically delicious. Don't worry, just cover it up and put it in the refrigerator. We will deal with it on another occasion. Fill up a large pot with water and make sure to salt the water generously. Cover the pot and set your burner to medium-high. This will be for the pasta, so make sure to time things out so your pasta is ready when your sauce is. 

Now take you duck, which should look something like this:
Heat two tablespoons or around that neighborhood of corn oil or any vegetable oil in a large saucepan and brown the duck:
Then remove the duck from the pan and set aside. All together, you should be looking at something like this:

Large scary knife is not required, but it is recommend. When the duck has cooled you are going to chop it up and this will look something like this: 
Meanwhile, throw the shallots and garlic into the saucepan over a medium heat:
Once the shallots have softened and are growing golden, throw in the asparagus, the wine, and some parsley. Cover and turn the heat down to low or medium low. Your water should be boiling by now, so cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. I usually use this kind of pasta:
But you should do whatever your little heart desires. I like pasta al dente, and I consider it a great crime against humanity to over cook pasta, but everyone is different. And some people are just better. Once the pasta is done, season the sauce to taste and serve it over the pasta. I like to sprinke on some parsley at this point: 
I also like cheese:
And that will look something like this:
And this is absolutely delicious. 
But you don't have to take my word for it. Go make it yourself, you lazyface. 


  1. that looks delicious. i too had a duck phase where it was the only thing i ate for three weeks.

  2. Duck phases! It's a real thing! We should call the medical professionals.

  3. Yum, duck! 13 is a broadway musical about a kid who is turning 13 and is going to have a big bar mitzvah to celebrate. Then his parents split up and he has to move to nowhere, Indiana. He tries to get the cool kids to come to his bar mitzvah by selling out his real friends, the nerds Patrice and Archie. There is a version on Youtube. It is pretty funny, if not really corny.

  4. Wow. That is just, wow. Well, I love your costume ideas!

  5. i've tried duck before, i just can't get down with it. i'm not a big fan of dark meat. i think i'm the most boring eater ever, i pretty much survive on sushi and carrots.

  6. Haha, it's okay, duck isn't everyone's cup of tea! But I thought you didn't like fish?