I got hit by a mutant meme; I don’t remember who tagged me. I’m not terribly into these
meme things, but I don’t pass up excuses to post recipes. So below the fold are four recipes that I’ve created: seared duck breast with ancho chile sauce; saffron fish stew; smoked salmon hash; and
spicy collard greens.
Seared Duck Breast with Ancho-Chile Sauce
This is one of the best recipes I’ve ever created. It’s perfect
with a good california Zinfandel.
- Get some really good, large duck breasts. Marinate them for an hour or two
in red wine.
- Put about 2 cups of chicken stock into a small pot, and bring to a boil.
- Take one or two dried ancho chiles, crack them open, remove the seeds, and
put the rest into the boiling stock.
- Add two minced shallots to the stock.
- Lower the heat, and let the stock simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Carefully transfer the stock with the chiles and shallots to a blender,
and puree until it’s as smooth as you get it. (Be careful doing
this; it’s easy to get a face-full of boiling hot stock when you turn the blender
- Put pureed sauce through a chinois or other fine strainer to remove the
- Put the strained sauce back into a saucepan, and add a small amount of red wine
to thin it out a bit. Bring it to a simmer, and let it cook down until it’s roughly
the texture of a glaze.
- Add in about a tablespoon of key-lime juice (more if you want); salt to taste
(around 1 teaspoon or so); and honey to taste.
- Remove the duck breasts from the marinade, pat them dry, cut a cross-hatch pattern through the skin and fat, and sprinkle with
salt and pepper.
- Heat a dry skillet on medium heat.
- Put the duck breasts into the skillet, skin-side down. Cook for about 5 minutes
per side, draining fat periodically. (Depending on how rare you like your duck,
you can vary the cooking time. You really need at least 5 minutes on the skin side
to render the fat, but if you like it very rare, you can reduce the time on
the other side to as little as 2 minutes.)
- Remove the duck breasts from the pan and let them rest for a couple of minutes.
While they’re resting, whisk a pat of butter and some minced scallions into the sauce.
- Slice the duckbreasts into thin slices *against* the grain of the meat, and lay
them onto a plate in a fan-shape. Sprinkle them with a very little bit of
coarse salt and pepper.
- With a tablespoon, spoon the ancho sauce around the duck on the plate. You don’t
need much sauce – just a couple of tablespoons per breast is plenty.
That’s it. It goes really well with fresh corn, and some nice braised vegetables – collard greens or mustard greens would be terrific.
This one I just created off the cuff about two weeks ago. I had some good fish (mahi-mahi), and didn’t know what to do with it, so I whipped this together, and it turned out to be really fantastic. This should work with any strong-flavoredd firm white fish: the mahi-mahi was great; it would probably also work with swordfish or chilean
- Put some dried morel or porcini mushrooms in water to soak.
- Put a good sized pinch of saffron into warm water to soak.
- Get some baby red potates, cut them in half, drizzle them with olive oil and salt,
and put them into a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until they’re just starting to brown. Then transfer them to a large skillet or roasting pan.
- To the skillet, add 1/2 of a large onion, cut into thin slices; two cloves of minced garlic; about 1/2 a cup of halved grape tomatoes; and the fish cut into large
- Add the mushrooms (and the water they soaked in) and the saffron to the pan.
- Add white wine and chicken stock to the pan until the fish and potatoes are covered slightly more than halfway; add salt and pepper to taste.
- Put the pan uncovered into the 350 degree oven, and let it cook for
about 15 minutes.
- Add in some broccoli florets cut into bit size pieces, and drizzle with extra
virgin olive oil. Then put it back into the oven for another five minutes.
Smoked Salmon Hash
This requires some really good quality smoked wild salmon – the east-coast lox really won’t do the job. You need a good chunk of something like smoked king salmon. About 1/2 lb should do nicely for 4-6 people. Also, the fried capers are really important – do go to the trouble of finding dried, salt-packed capers.
- Mince a large onion.
- Cut 4-6 large potatoes into small cubes.
- Put the onions and potatoes into a hot pan on medium high heat with olive oil, add salt and pepper, and cook until they’re nicely browned.
- Mince the smoked salmon into small cubes.
- In a small pot, put about 1/2 inch of oil, and heat until almost smoking.
- Take about 2-dozen salt-packed capers (it’s got to be the salt packed kind for this!), and toss about 6 into the hot oil, then immediately remove with a slotted spoon.
Repeat for the rest of the capers. The capers should immediately puff up and
- Make a batch of hollandaise sauce, and poach two eggs per person.
- Prepare plates with a mound of the potatoes. On top, scatter the fried
capers and minced salmon. Top with two poached eggs and the hollandaise sauce.
Spicy Collard Greens
This is my version of a dish cooked by the chef in Google’s cafeteria. I’d never had collards
before, and they were amazingly good, so I needed to try to reproduce it. It’s not the same
as what he cooked, but it’s good, and it’s easy.
- Take a big bunch of collard greens. Wash them carefully, and cut off the stems. Then
cut the leaves into thin strips, about 1/4 inch by about 3 inches.
- Mince a few ounces of bacon or smoked turkey.
- Coarsely mince a couple of cloves of garlic.
- Heat a saute pan, and add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Immediately add a good bunch
of crushed red chili flakes to the hot oil. Stir them around a bit, and then add the
bacon/turkey, and cook until it starts to brown.
- Add the collard greens, and a good-sized pinch of salt, and stir-fry them until they wilt.
- Add about 1 cup of chicken stock, lower the heat, and cook until most of the stock has
evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.