Week 9: Wednesday, Duck Consomme, au blanc and the tropical pyramid

This day was devoted to canard or duck. Chef Dale put together a duck consommé with choux puffs filled with duck liver parfait.  Below a picture of just the choux puffs.
Then they poured hot duck consommé over the puffs to make the dish.


Consommé is a long delicate process that requires a raft of ingredients that act as a filter.   As the proteins in the raft start to coagulate, it picks up the impurities in the stock and clarifies it.   The result a completely transparent flavorful liquid.  On my station, I was to work on duck cooked au blanc or without color.

So, I decided to try an experiment. I had Norm make a large batch of Beurre Fondue or Beurre Monté if you work at the French Laundry.   What I was looking for was a butter laden poaching liquid to slowly bring up my duck breast to 125º. However, I forgot that liquid conducts heat a lot more efficiently than air and had Norm poach the breast at 170º.  They were hardly ruined, but not the light pink color that I was seeking.   Oh well, that is nature of doing experiments.   I read a quote by Michael Jordan recently that said “I’m so successful, because I failed so often” or something similar. The final dish looked like this.


We served it with a verjus walnut and grape sauce.  The students enjoyed peeling the grapes.  We paired the consommé with Amontillado Fino style sherry and the duck with an Albariño from Rias Baixas in Spain.


For dessert we had a lively passion fruit bavarian pyramid shaped with candied ginger and a ginger caramel.   The whole thing was topped with a candied thin slice of pineapple.  Very refreshing end to a full meal.



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