Roasted duck recipe


When someone asks me, “What’s Pablo having today?”, and I
answer, “Duck”, I immediately get that “how fancy, how French” vibe… Somehow,
duck sounds fancy, something you only have in a restaurant. Yet, it can be as
simple to cook as a roasted chicken, and doesn’t cost a lot more. And duck meat
is wonderfully flavorful.

I was born in Toulouse, and Southwestern France will always stay in my heart as the place
where I learned the true meaning of the word “gastronomy”. It’s a place full of
smells: it’s where I smelled a tomato on the vine for the first time.  Where the melons and peaches at the market in
summer are huge and as sweet as can be. It is of course the home of the
truffle, my passion and obsession. And a place where duck is a staple.
So, inspired by the wonderful dishes from the southwest region
of France
(cassoulets, etc), I decided to combine roasted duck with white cannellini
beans and roasted rosemary tomatoes.

Variety being a
key component to my strategy with Pablo, I started him on duck (among the other
meats: beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, veal) around 8 months. At first, I bought
duck breast, which I steamed and mixed with vegetables (it goes well with
turnip). This is a bit more involved, but for an ultra-simplified version, see
the end of the recipe.

Duck with white beans and roasted tomatoes

Age : 8-10 months.

Health benefits: Duck meat is very high in iron. And most of
its fat, which is “good” fat anyway, aka polyunsaturated, is in the skin or
just below, easily removed from the meat.

1 duck

1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp olive oil

Salt & pepper

2 cloves of garlic

3 tbsp of rosemary olive oil

1/2 can organic cannellini beans, rinsed*

(*You could make the beans from scratch, but I must admit, being busy as moms get, when I found canned organic cannellini beans with bpa free lining, I jumped on them!)

12 cherry tomatoes.

Preheat the oven at 400°

Brown the duck with the butter and olive oil on all sides in
a large dutch oven.

Place the duck breast-side down. Sprinkle with salt and
pepper. Add ¼ cup of water.

Place the uncovered dutch oven in the oven and roast for about
45 mn, basting every 15-20 minutes.

The tomatoes:

Put some fresh rosemary and the garlic cloves in the olive
oil, let it marinate for 20 minutes (I also make rosemary garlic olive oil by
leaving a few cloves of garlic and some fresh rosemary in an olive oil bottle,
so it’s always handy.)

Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds, to peel
them easily.

Cut them in half and place them in an oven-safe platter. Drizzle
some rosemary olive oil (with the garlic cloves) over the tomatoes. Roast them
at 425° for about 10 minutes.

The mix (to make 4 x 2 oz portions):

Put about 3 oz of roasted duck breast (skin removed), ½ can
of cannellini beans (rinsed in cold water), the roasted tomatoes (with the garlic cloves) in the food
processor and mix to desired consistency.

Old toddler option: You can serve the duck breast (cut-up),
the beans and the roasted tomatoes on one plate.

Ultra easy option: The slightly “fancy” option above
can be shortened by simply purchasing duck breast. Simply
steam 3 oz of duck breast with the tomatoes and ½ garlic clove for about 15 mn.
Add the cannellini beans, perhaps some fresh thyme, and mix in the food
processor.

Oven roasted chicken recipe

I have been trying to master the art of roasting a chicken for some time and even if I cannot say I got it down, I am getting better at it. Yesterday my chicken was pretty darn good, not perfect (everything can be always improved), but I think I got the fundamentals down.

Ingredients

  • 1 Chicken
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Herbs
  • Olive Oil

Directions

  1. First take the chicken, pat it dry using a paper towel and rub it outside and inside with generous amounts of salt, pepper and your favorite herb(s). I usually go for rosemary, but you can use thyme, sage, oregano, just to name a few. Now rub a bit of oil on the skin of the chicken, one or two table spoons should be more than enough.
  2. If you like it, you can also put a quartered lemon and/or garlic cloves inside the abdominal cavity of the bird for some additional flavoring. Preheat the oven at 450F and once the oven reaches the right temperature place your chicken in the oven. Let it cook for 90 minutes. When you take it out the skin of the chicken should be crispy and the meat should fall off the bone.
  3. Sometimes I add vegetables (e.g., pearl onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes and similar) 45 to 30 minutes before the chicken is ready. They make for a nice quick side and you don’t even need to wash another pan to make them! Note they will basically cook in the fats and water coming from the chicken, so don’t add any other oil and don’t expect them to turn out as crispy as they would if you were baking them in a separate oven dish.
  4. Anyway, I think the secret for a nice chicken is the oven temperature. As of now, I am positive that 450F is what you need to get the skin crispy and the meat juicy… Hope it works for you too….

Roasted tomato pasta and awards

Barbecue season is finally, maybe, starting also in the midwest and with it the question “what do I bring?”. I have a tendency to choose to bring pasta for at least a couple of good reasons: is cheap, is good, can be cooked in a number of different ways, and is easy to transport. This last time I chose to cook pasta with roasted tomatoes. It is very simple and makes quite an impression. I noticed that cooking a simple dish with flavorful ingredients is often more successful than cooking a complex dish, so I am sticking with those sort of dish when I cook for a lot of people: it make my life easier and the guests happy.

Roasted tomato pasta and awards

Ingredients

  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 spoon capers
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • oregano
  • salt
  • pepper
  • EVOO
  • grated cheese (parmesan or pecorino)

Directions

  1. First I started the water for the pasta. Then I prepared a bit of aromatic oil by chopping capers, oregano and a clove of garlic and putting it in a bit of oil. I then sliced the tomatoes and arranged them on an oven dish so that they were not overlapping. I poured the seasoned oil on the tomatoes and seasoned the tomatoes with salt and pepper. I cooked the tomatoes in the oven for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile I cooked the spaghetti until al dente and drained them. I mixed the pasta with the tomatoes and added a bit of grated cheese (pecorino, parmesan or any other salty cheese works), mixed everything and brought to my first barbecue of the season.
  2. Pasta bowl was pretty much polished by the end of the barbecue and I received a number of compliments on the dish.

Roasted pepper rolls

Here the recipe for a simple and colorful dish that would work great for a party. I was inspired by a rather classic flavor combination: butter beans and roasted red peppers. These two components go into some of our summer salads in Italy and they work great together. I tried to play with these flavors and got to a totally different dish!

Ingredients

  • 2 cans butter beans
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 can spam
  • EVOO
  • thyme
  • chive
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions

  1. Start by roasting the red peppers. You can do it in a number of ways: on the grill, in the oven, on the flame of the stove. You will have to cook the peppers for about 20 to 30 minutes turning them around as the skin becomes black and blistered. For the oven cooking, keep the broil function on and turn the pepper once. If you choose the flame, put your pepper on a fork and keep turning it every couple of minutes.
  2. As soon as the peppers are cooked put them in a closed container to cool down, anything will work: a ziploc, a paper bag, a bowl covered with plastic. Closing the peppers in some container will help you taking off the skin once the pepper has cooled down.
  3. While the peppers cool down, start on the filling. Blend the beans with the salt, pepper, herbs adding enough oil to get a smooth paste but rather solid paste.
  4. Cut the spam into cubes (ham would work as well) and mix it into the bean mixture.
  5. Skin the peppers and clean them of their seeds. Cut them in long and rather wide stripes (4-8 stripes per pepper). Form the bean mixture into oval nuggets the size of your palm and wrap them in the roasted pepper stripes
  6. Serve as an appetizer or a main course accompanied by some homemade tortilla chips. To make mine I followed Manu’s Menu suggestions, except I cooked them in the oven instead of on the stove. Simply cut tortillas into wedges, arrange on an oven dish, sprinkle with oil and cook until crispy (5 min in a 400F oven).

Roasted peppers

One of my favorite thing to eat in summer are roasted vegetables. They are great for a number of reasons: they’re healthy, fresh, light and in summer they taste great. Also they can be made ahead, and can be cooked in the oven, on the stove or on the grill.

I like marinating my roasted veggies, and each vegetable deserve its own. For peppers, I like to put in a bit of capers and a bit of anchovies. The saltiness of those ingredients balances off the sweetness of the peppers and yields a great side dish for red meat.

Marinated roasted peppers

Marinated roasted peppers

Ingredients

  • 2-3 peppers yellow and red
  • 1 spoon capers
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5 anchovies
  • oregano
  • EVOO
  • salt
  • pepper
  • goat cheese (optio

Directions

  1. Start by roasting your peppers. You can do it however you prefer, I washed mine and cooked them whole in the oven for about 30 minutes using the broiling function. Grill would work great as well if you have it on for cooking some meat.
  2. When the peppers are cooked, put them in a paper bag or a Ziploc, close it and let them cool down. This will make peeling much easier.
  3. In a small pan, warm up some oil and add in the crushed garlic and the anchovies. Let cook until the anchovies are melted and the garlic is soft. Add in the capers and the oregano and cook for another couple of minutes.
  4. At this point the pepper should be cool enough to be handled. Skin them, clean them and cut them in stripes.
  5. Arrange on a platter and dress with the warm dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper and, if you like it, add a bit of goat cheese. Check before adding the salt as most of the ingredients of the dressing are very salty.

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