So apparently, and I found this out yesterday, I can’t read. Yup, I know- you’re shocked. You have already equated my writing skills with those of Dickens and Austen and now want your money back because I’m a total fraud. Lucky for me I don’t charge money.
My illiterate nature smacked me upside the head while preparing a recipe from the May issue of Food and Wine- a certain Duck Breast, Lentil and Parsnip Salad. Everything was going quiet well. I had put ½ c French Lentils in a saucepan, covered them with an inch of water and brought them to a boil:
I combined ¼ c extra virgin olive oil and 2tbsp + 1 tsp red wine vinegar as the dressing and washed my field greens. I had made thin strips out of a parsnip leaving a bloody parsnip carcass in my wake:
And fried these strips in vegetable oil for one minute, and then dried them on a paper towel:
I was doing great! My reading skills were way above Dick and Jane. Then came the duck:
“What nice golden crisp skin you have my little duck” said the chef
“All the better to RUIN YOUR DINNER WITH!!” said the duck
I wondered why this duck was obviously taking more than the ‘4 minutes per side’ that this recipe was deluding it take. So I decided to just take another glance at the recipe- I mean I was sure I was right (because I’m always right), but just to be sure, right?
The duck was supposed to be skinless.
Here is what followed:
That would be me creating a bloody mess of my kitchen while I tried to peel the skin off my scalding hot duck (and of course the fat came with it) and then throw it back in the pan to finish off the cooking. Meanwhile, I also threw away the skin and the fat. Yup, I threw away duck fat- just throw the handcuffs on me now. If you don’t know about chefs and duck fat, I’ll just put it this way: the land of milk and honey for us, would be the land of duck fat and truffles to any chef worth his/her sea salt. So besides being illiterate, I was also being wasteful. Needless to say I felt stupid and inadequate- like I had tried to conquer duck- a fowl I was completely scared of, and I failed.
I guess it wasn't all a failure- the duck cooked and I actually did manage to put together a nice salad:
And Felix liked it which always makes me pretty happy. But in another way I failed. My apartment stank of duck.
I told this story to my good friend Sarah who was in town and she relayed a good piece of advice that she got from her uncle, Carter:
Carter apparently had a little bit of an obsession with duck a while back and he would cook it about once every two weeks:
“Why” I inquired, “was he worried about the fat and only wanted to consume something like that every so often?”
“Nope” Sarah grinned, “it was because he always made duck on the day before his cleaners came."
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