Thursday, April 1, 2010

Duck confit with star anise and ginger

If making duck confit with mediterranean herbs didn't much affect the flavor as compared with plain salt, the oriental spices in this confit did add some spicy, exotic character.

Also, this time I decided to do it the right way, and instead of struggling to maintain a low simmer in one overcrowded Dutch oven on the stovetop, divided the legs between two deep ceramic baking dishes, made sure they are covered completely with fat, and kept them in the oven at 200 degrees for about 4 hours, all the while suffering from the noise of the convection fan.

The noisy torture was well worth it: the duck has perfectly soft, melting texture.

Crisped it on both sides in a skillet over medium heat (the legs provide their own fat for cooking, plus some fat left over for the vegetables). Sauteed asparagus, shitake mushrooms, and parboiled and then sauteed Russian Banana potatoes.

A happy surprise at the farmers market today were bunches of lilacs from the Sierra Foothills. The smell of my childhood that I thoroughly miss - Coastal California is too hot to grow them.

We used to eat the flowers that have more than four petals and make a wish. This variety has too many of five-petal flowers, I cannot eat them all.

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