July 25, 2010

Fat duck

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I crashed a dinner party tonight.  My friend was cooking dinner and posted the menu on Facebook.  Out of pure playfulness I added a comment and asked where my invitation was, which my friend took seriously and promptly invited me to dinner.  Not wanting to turn down her invitation, I sheepishly accepted.  Thankfully it was a small and casual dinner, so the menu was pretty simple. 

The host poured me some Zoémie De Sousa Brut Merveille NV to start.  I've always liked De Sousa's Champagnes, and this was just lovely to drink.

To be honest, I came for the duck confit.  It's one of my favorite dishes of all time, and I simply couldn't turn down a homemade version.  My penchant for (animal) fat is well-known (and documented!), so my friends would be surprised to know that I actually cut out some of that fat from the duck... My piece of leg was actually too fatty, even for me.  But the skin, of course, was heavenly... crispy after being fried in the lovely duck fat... The best thing was that my friend had chosen not to over-season the duck, so it was mild and not too heavy on the salt.

There were also some confit duck hearts and gizzards, but needless to say the Brits weren't having any of it... so the Chinese happily gobbled them up!

I brought a bottle of 2004 Ponsot Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Charmes to go with the duck.  2004 wasn't a stellar vintage, but I suspected it would be drinking well now.  Very classic Burgundian nose, with lots of sweet fruit and herbs, as well as some floral notes.  Not too shabby.

I normally don't eat a lot of potatoes other than fries and the occasional serving of Robuchon's mash, but the potatoes dauphinoise looked pretty attractive and I couldn't just leave it on the plate.  Yum...

The sautéed broccoli rabe and haricots verts in vinaigrette were refreshing, acting as a balance for all the fatty (but yummy) stuff.

I moved on to the 2006 Greenock Creek Shiraz Apricot Block.  I had expected a big wine, which is why I drank the Ponsot first, but I was shocked to see the numbers "18.5%" printed on the back label, under the words "Special Late Harvest".  It had all the markings of a good Aussie Shiraz: lots of sweet fruit, vanilla, oak, coconut oil... then your nosehairs get singed by the alcohol.    I was getting a headache and there was no doubt as to the reason...

My hostess brought out the lovely plum-almond torte.  I restrained myself and only had one slice.  The texture was soft, fluffy, and I loved the almond flavor.  My hostess insisted on sending me home with an extra slice...

Finally there was a plate of chocolate chip cookies, which were oh-so-good...  What a lovely way to spend a Sunday evening!

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