A colourful and delicious dish which can easily be adjusted for vegetarians without losing any of the fun
Really this is more about the carrot rather than the duck so, like much of my cooking (which I often need to adapt for my vegetarian wife), it works perfectly well either way just by adjusting quantities of pasta, substituting goats cheese for the protein, and of course adding a flower! The underlying sweet and buttery carrot puree gives a solid base on which the toasted crunch of hazelnut and the beetroot tuile sit, with sharpness from the pickled ribbons of carrot, earthiness from the burnt leek, and rich umami from the duck (or cheese if substituting).
This is the first time I’ve tried to make this little biscuit, which is really for decoration as much as anything else, but is perfectly delicious too!
As usual I forgo exact quantities – use what feels right to you, have fun, and see what happens!
- Duck breast / Fresh goats cheese
- Beetroot, flour and oil for the tuile
- Fregola pasta
- Pomegranate mollasses (optional)
(The ingredients and a 30 second sketch of what the dish was supposed to end up like)
1. Get the duck into the sous vide 2 hours before you want to serve. I like my duck pink so usually give it 1.5-2 hours at 56c/133f. If you don’t have a sous vide machine you can skip this step and just pan fry you duck later. Do however make sure to remove it from the fridge well in advance though so the inside has time to come to room temperature.
2. Peel your carrots, and using a Japanese mandolin slice some very thin ribbons, which can now be steeped in white wine vinegar. The rest of the carrots are roughly chopped and cooked gently in butter and some water to cover. Season.
(Clockwise from top left; Carrot ribbons sliced in a mandolin, pickled in vinegar, simmered until soft with butter, passed through a drum sieve, into a piping bag)
3. Prepare the tuile biscuit: Peel and chop half a small beetroot, blend and pass through a sieve to extract the juice. Or use a juicer if you have one. Combine with a handful of flour and a half a cup of oil. Mix well and loosen with water if necessary; You want the mix to be quite runny. Heat a non-stick pan to just under 200c. If you have an infra red thermometer use that, or if not just wait until it starts to think about smoking.
BTW please buy an infrared thermometer, they are so useful – you can check the temperature of anything by just pointing the beam at it.
Add a splash of oil to the pan and then carefully place a spoonful of mixture into the oil. It will splutter a lot as it drives off the moisture so please be careful. As it bubbles, it should form a lacy biscuit. Let it cook until it stops bubbling which tells you its dry and very carefully remove with a palette knife. Lay to dry on kitchen paper.
(Clockwise from top left; Beetroot on a drum sieve, juice mixed with flour and oil,whisked, checking the temp of a hot pan, frying the tuiles in oil, and draining on kicthen paper)
4. Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan, and transfer to a mortar to crush lightly. Before the pan cools use the heat to blacken some leaks. Again no oil, just leave them alone in a very hot pan until black on both ends.
(Toasting hazelnuts, crushing in a mortar, and blackening leaks)
5. Cook the fregola pasta for about 10 mins in lightly salted water… drain and keep warm.
6. Remove the duck from the sous vide and dry on kitchen paper. In the same pan, which should still be hot from cooking the leaks, place the duck skin-down, with no added oil, and cool until the fat renders out and you have a delicious, crispy skin. Let rest for a few minutes, slice, and season again.
(Souse vide, drying, and roasting the skin of the duck)
7. Assemble. Place some carrot puree on the plate and draw it across the plate using a palette knife or spatula. Pipe some more mounds of puree wherever else you feel like on the plate. Scatter the pasta across the puree and repeat with some of the crushed hazelnuts. Place one or two pieces of leak, the pickled carrot ribbons, and either the duck or cheese (depending on which version you want to make) on top. Enjoy!
1. The vegetarian option with goats cheese