Dinner tonight was duck fried "rice," with the rice in scare quotes because it was mostly riced cauliflower left over from last night. I started with two Muscovy duck breasts left over from Helen's birthday trifecta weekend. I scored the fat and then marinated for a couple of hours in a mixture of:
- 2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (I prefer a wheat free tamari sauce)
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Mirin
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- a couple of dashes of Tabasco®
For the last half hour I transferred the duck from the refrigerator to the counter top to let it warm up some. I removed the duck from the marinade, wiped the breasts dry with paper towels, and put them skin side down in a preheated Calphalon Contemporary 12-Inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat until the fat had rendered and the skin was a deep brown. This makes it a lot easier to remove the skin, which I did after allowing the breasts to rest for 10 minutes. I discarded the duck fat because it had picked up a lot of black bits, which was unfortunate. Duck fat is liquid gold in the kitchen. I wiped the pan clean with paper towels and set it aside. After the breasts had rested, I peeled off the skin and diced the meat.
On to the "rice":
- The diced duck meat
- 1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms (reconstituted by pouring 1-½ cups boiling water over the mushrooms and letting them steep for 30 minutes), drained and then chopped into bite-sized pieces (discard the woody stem centers or save them for stock; if you're making stock, be sure to also strain the soaking liquid through an unbleached coffee filter and save it)
- 1 tablespoon onion flakes rehydrated in a ½ cup warm water and then drained (I was out of onions and didn't feel like running out for one, but I always have dried onion flakes in the pantry for such occasions)
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
- ½ head of cauliflower, riced
- 1 cup cooked white rice leftover from a meal earlier in the week
- 1 tablespoon freeze-dried chives (in lieu of green onions, which I also didn't feel like running out for, and which I always keep in the pantry for such occasions)
- 1-½ teaspoons chile paste
- ½ cup frozen petite peas
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 eggs beaten with 1 tablespoon water, a dash of Tabasco®, and a few grinds of black pepper
I preheated the same skillet over medium-high heat and then added just enough olive oil (pure not EVOO) to coat the bottom. In went the duck meat, which was still very rare to sauté for 2-½ minutes. Next in went the mushrooms to sauté for another minute. Next the onion, garlic, and ginger to sauté for 30 seconds. Next into the pan were all of the remaining ingredients except for the eggs. They sautéed for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. At the 5 minute mark, I moved the mixture to the outer edges of the skillet to create about a five-inch diameter opening in the center of the skillet into which I poured the eggs. I scrambled them briefly and then mixed the eggs into the fried "rice." Serve immediately.
I was in the mood for fried "rice" and also in the mood for a Napa Cab, which admittedly is not a pairing I would normally approve (or even admit to making). But damned if it didn't work.
I decanted the Etude about an hour before dinner. It had thrown a lot of light sediment, which made decanting a real pain and ultimately required filtering the last quarter of the bottle through an unbleached coffee filter because it was so mixed with the wine (despite having stood the bottle up for 3 days to settle and very careful handling). Bright ruby color. Good bouquet of blackberry, cassis, tobacco, and mocha java. Ditto the palate with a dash of cedar on the finish. Soft silky tannins and just the right level of acidity. Well balanced. I've got one bottle left in my cellar and I think I'll drink it by the end of 2017. No point in waiting.