It is spring break for schools in the area. The girls abandoned us to brighter places with their respective other parents. I can’t remember the last time I cooked for Jim. Just Jim. So…on an unusual weeknight dinner date at home, I decided to make
Caesar Salad, Duck Breast with Pomegranate sauce, Mushroom Risotto and Chocolate Creme Brulee.
Most of this I had never made before. It was a risk. But, if it turned out badly we could always just order pizza. There was no urgency or expectation. Perfect for cooking experiments for a forgiving and kind loved one.
What I learned:
The anchovy paste I used tasted bitter for the caesar salad dressing. Next time I’m sticking with the canned anchovies. I like those better.
The Duck Breast was perfectly cooked thanks to the Epicurious Roast Duck Breast with Pomegranate-chile Sauce recipe. Dear Ms. Selma Brown you are an artist.
- Score the duck breast.
- Cook skin side down on a dry pan (it won’t stay dry for long).. 7 minutes.
- Flip cook other side for 1 minute.
- Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 5 minutes.
- Let meat rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
I adapted the sauce [now my new favorite!]
1/2 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water. Simmer until caramalized.
Add 2 cups pomegranate juice and 2 cups chicken broth.
I didn’t have dried California Chilies. I did have dried Carolina Reapers…I simmered one-half in the sauce for five minutes. It was HOT….even for me. I was afraid that I would injure Jim with this lovingly prepared lethal sauce.
Reduce until thick. About 25 minutes.
Add one and half teaspoon of Chipotle in adobo sauce and Balsamic vinegar each. This gives the sauce a surprisingly beautiful smoky warmth along with the fruity sweetness.
I strained it. I was left with this deep red, translucent sauce with a honey consistency and spicy hot strength. Amazing. I want to bottle it and share.
It held when I drizzled the sauce on the plate but once I added honey in an effort to tame the angry heat…the sauce sort of dissolved. Maybe next time I’ll drizzle the honey on the duck breast itself and leave the red drizzle alone. Regardless, this was easily one of the best duck preparations I had. Complex flavors, crispy skin, tender meat. Each bite felt full. Next time maybe add some greenbeans to the plate.
The Mushroom Risotto was perfect company for the duck. Next time I need to remember to add more liquid before I serve. The rice had tightened up a bit and lost its creaminess. Basically, every cup of rice needs about 3-4 cups of water.
The Chocolate Creme Brulee was a grown-up cross between chocolate mousse and pudding. I adapted it from Michael Symon’s recipe. Didn’t use a tart shell. The salt in the salt and coffee in the recipe add a……hmmmmm…this is different but familiar taste.
Jim helped with the salad, slicing the duck and torching the creme brulee sugar.
We were both very happy with dinner.
Wishing you delicious dinners with your beloved,