Sunday, March 25, 2007

Crispy Duck Leg Confit with Potato, Fennel, and Leek Hash

In addition to the fantastic pork from TLC Ranch, Severinos Community Butcher also has some amazing duck. They've even gone to the trouble of confit so that I don't have to.

One lovely spring evening, I made a hash of fresh fennel, leeks, and diced potato served over a bed of peppercress with crispy duck leg confit and a few fresh tomatoes.

2 legs duck confit
2 medium potatoes, diced small
1/2 bulb fresh fennel, sliced thin
1 medium leek, sliced thin (only the white bits)
a couple handfulls of fresh peppercress
1 each, fresh gold and red tomatoes lightly tossed in herb vinaigrette*

You want as much of the duck fat from the confit as you can possibly get, so crisp those babies up first. Heat up a heavy-bottom pan and lay your confit legs in. Leave for a few minutes to crisp, then flip and crisp the other side. Remove from pan and keep warm.

While the confit legs are crisping, thinly slice the fennel and leeks, reserving some of the fennel greens. Wash the leeks thoroughly. Peel and dice the potatoes into small cubes. After removing the confit legs from the pan, add a bit of EVOO to evenly coat the bottom. Add the potatoes to the hot oil and fat and spread in a single layer. Sprinkle with kosher salt and don't touch them again until they get nice and crispy. Use a sharp spatula to release the crispy potatoes from the pan, then add the leeks and fennel. Toss and saute for a few minutes, until the fennel and leeks are limp and begin to brown. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine (just a bit, you don't want to lose the crispy).

Finely chop a few springs of the fennel greens. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and toss with the fennel in a light vinaigrette*.

Pile a handful of peppercress on the plate, top with the potato, fennel and leek hash and place a warm duck leg confit on top. Place the tomatoes around the plate, and serve.

Herb Vinaigrette

1 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tbsp White Wine
1 Tbsp Light vinegar (I use Rice Vinegar)
1 small clove garlic
1 tsp raw sugar
spring of fresh thyme, stems removed
spring of winter savory, stems removed
dash of kosher salt
dash of white pepper

Place in blender and blend on high for 30 seconds or so.

French Herbed BBQ Ribs

Severino's Community Butcher bring the world's best pork to the Mountain View Farmer's Market (as well as a few other tasty meats). Last weekend, I picked up a rack of baby back ribs that had more flavor than anything I've ever tried before. Rather than ruining the flavor of the pork with a thick tomatoey BBQ sauce, I opted for a fresh spring herb dry rub. The result was fantastic, by Trisha's reckoning the best ribs she'd ever had.

For the Dry Rub:
  • 2 Tbsp Herbs de Provence (Or some mixture of thyme with rosemary, marjoram, basil, bay leaf and lavender)
  • 1 Tbsp raw sugar
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika

Put herbs with salt into a mortar and grind until fine. Add the remaining ingredients.

Separate the rack into individual ribs. Put the ribs and the rub in a ziplock bag, seal, and shake to coat.

Spread out the ribs onto a shallow flat pan (I used my paella pan) and cook low & slow over indirect heat for a few hours, turning occassionally. I cooked my in the center of my 4-burner BBQ grill with only the outside burners on. Ribs are done when the meat pulls away from the end of the bone and the rub forms a nice crispy coating, about 3 hrs at 220f degrees.