Right now, my kitchen, my dining room, my living room, my house smells of roasting garlic, sweet fennel, and onions ... they're all roasting their way to a platter of roasted duck, made in tribute to Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. Too bad those ladies couldn't be sitting down to dinner with us this evening. I would love to hear the stories of their first years together as a team at The Silver Palate. I'd enjoy hearing about the travels of Sheila, as she did her worldwide recipe search for her All Around the World Cookbook, and how Julee ended up owning an inn and restaurant on the shores of Lake Michigan. Alas, Sheila is no longer with us and Julee has her own schedule that is NOT aligned with mine ... alas.
Rosso and Lukins are ranked at number 15 on Gourmet Live's list of 50 Women Game-Changers - women who have strongly influenced the food industry and the way we interact with foods. I'm part of a large group of bloggers working its way down that list one woman (or team of women!) at a time, week by week. It's turning into a tasty tribute all the way around! Check my cohorts' tributes out at One Perfect Bite! Start at Mary's blog and then click the links to see what everyone else is doing in tribute to these ladies!
They certainly deserve a place on the Gourmet Live list ! The marketing of a gourmet 'take-out' that mixed the idea of fine catered cuisine with easy grab-it-and-go knoshing was revolutionary in the 70's. It caught on quickly with the 'yuppies' of Manhattan and fed the ladies' marketing plan. Soon, cookbooks, packaged gourmet products that were instrumental to some of their recipes, cooking classes, television and newspaper gigs followed. They definitely became a gourmet phenomenom and spawned a following of foodies who discovered easy and accessible gourmet cooking.
I have loved the idea of The Silver Palate shop since I saw its photo on the cover of the cookbook given its name. The story of my acquisition of that cookbook is kind of fun. It was 1983 - summertime. We were visiting a friend of SB's in Groton, Connecticut. Tim's girlfriend had been gifted The Silver Palate Cookbook that weekend and she had it in her car. Diane brought it to me as we were putting a grilled meal together for the folks around the swimming pool. We'd started talking food and cooking. When she heard me yammer on about baking and roasting and braising and casseroles, she said, "You will use this far more than I. Take it, please! Then, the expectations will be taken off my back. I'm not a great cook and I don't ever expect to be one!" I know I'm paraphrasing. There were some swear words in there and she was adamant that she hated serious cooking. What could I do? I grabbed that book, thanked her profusely, and have had it until just recently.
I loved Diane's paperback copy so much that I split the spine, spotted the pages, broke down the glue that held them in place and finally ended up holding the whole kaboodle together with a big thick rubber band.
No lie. I finally went onto a used book website and ordered a used hardcover copy to replace my original.
Thank you, Rosso and Lukins! Thank you, Diane!
In tribute to the ladies, tonight's meal is their Duck With Forty Cloves of Garlic - page 186 in The Silver Palate Cookbook.
I prepared a roast of carrots, sweet fennel, and sweet white onions and a side of wild rice to have with this dish. A bottle of Mondavi Meritage and big glasses of ice water with lemon slices to slosh helped with the richness of the garlic sauce that accompanies this dish. My goodness! Wonderful ... but no one can eat this richness very often!
Duck With Forty Cloves of Garlic
1 duck, 4 - 6 lbs. fresh or thoroughly defrosted
salt and pepper
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 c. finely chopped onion
2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1½ c. good quality chicken stock
1 tsp. dried thyme
3 parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
40 large cloves garlic (about three bulbs)
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 tbsp. Crème de Cassis (black currant liqueur - I used a blackberry liqueur)
8 tbsp. sweet butter (I used 4 tbsp)
chopped parsley (I used sweet fennel fronds)
Making the Dish:
1. Remove the neck and giblets from the duck. Set aside the liver for another use. Chop the other giblets and the neck and reserve them for use. Snip the wing tips from the duck and toss them in with the giblets. Pull as much fat from the duck's cavity as possible and discard. Using a sharp-tined fork, prick the skin of the duck all over . Salt and pepper the interior and exterior and place the duck in a shallow roasting pan that just fits the duck comfortably. Set aside.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan and add the giblets and wingtips, browning all over high heat. Season with some salt and pepper, reduce the heat, and add the onions and carrots. Cook until the vegetables are soft and lightly colored.
3. Add the stock, thyme, bay leaf, and parsley and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, partially cover, and simmer while the duck roasts.
4. Preheat oven to 450°F.
5. Separate the heads of garlic into cloves, discarding the papery skin and bulb base, but leaving the cloves unpeeled. Select 6 of the largest cloves and place them in the cavity of the duck. Scatter the rest of the cloves around the duck.
6. Set the pan (uncovered) in the pre-heated oven on the middle level. Roast at the high temperature for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and roast the bird for another 35 minutes for medium-rare, 5 - 10 minutes more for juicy and slightly pink. It is not recommended cooking well-done duck, as it gets dry and tough.
7. Transfer the duck to a platter and cover it with foil to rest.
8. Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic cloves from the roasting pan. Slip the peels from the garlic and into a small bowl and use a fork to mash them to a rough paste.
9. Strain the broth that has been simmering into a measuring cup. You should have about ½ cup of broth. If you don't have that amount, add a bit of water. If you have more, toss the giblets and return the broth to the saucepan. Put it on high heat and boil it down a bit until you're close to that ½ cup measure.
10. Lower the heat under the broth, and stir in the sherry vinegar, crème de cassis. Stir well. Add the garlic paste into the hot broth, salt and pepper if needed, and then,whisk in the butter, a lump at a time, until the sauce begins to thicken a bit.
11. Carve the duck into two manageable servings ( I did legs and a slabs of breast meat) and arrange on a pretty platter. Arrange the side vegetables and wild rice around the duck and drizzle the duck with the garlic sauce. Remove the last cloves of garlic from the duck's cavity and squeeze them from their peels. Lay the cloves by the plattered duck for a sweet bite of garlic. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.
12. Enjoy the richness!