Duck a la piña? isn’t is supposed to be Duck a l’orange?
Yes it is but today I have been helping our Banquets Chef test for the new menus for the coming year. It is quite a common thing for the Spanish to eat duck and pineapple together. So basically we have fused the pineapple on the inside of the duck with the help of Transglutaminase.
The double breast is then cooked in the water circulator at 65 degrees for 40 minutes to ensure a uniform result for every banquet. All that is needed to serve this is to caramelize it on the plancha then finish it is a low oven.
Far from finished but not a bad result………………..
About a year ago I discovered a technique using cocks combs, I basically cooked them at a very low temperature for a long time then puffed them. I made something a little funny to link 2 memories. The first was that I got attacked as a small child by a crazy rooster when I was working in a pet shop, and the second was the practice of Cock fighting in Mexico. So I figured the best thing to do was to take the symbol of the rooster (The comb) and combine it with something westernized from Mexico, the crispy taco. So basically I took some grilled corn (which the rooster eats and is also famous in Mexico), foie Gras (which is force fed corn) and then Orange reduction and Coriander to balance the 1 bite snack.
I find it very funny that for all of my life I have been eating tacos (mostly when my mother prepared them from a box of “Old El Paso taco kit”) and I did not realize until I was in Mexico city that Taco are actually soft. I find it very ammusing how we take a dish from another country and adapt it to our culture and tastes. Another very funny example is Mongolian Lamb in the Chinese take-away restaurants in Australia! When I was living in China many of my friends came to visit me and when I would take them to a local restaurant they were confused as to why Mongolian Lamb wasn’t on the menu like it is in every place in Australia!
The reason I am writing about this as I found tinned cocks combs from France this week which jogged this memory!
Why is it when it comes to bread most people think “It’s only bread”?
When prepared properly it can actually be one of the most spectacular things you can eat! Bread is one of the oldest scientific reactions used in the kitchen, which is quite relevant to think about especially now with the very long debate of the “evils” of Molecular Gastronomy being waged by those afraid of change.
By far the best countries of the world in producing bread are from Europe, each country has it’s own style and even a wide variety of styles depending on the towns or cities within that country. These days with more attention being paid to health there has been a few big changes; the first of which came about with several diets banning carbohydrates completely from the menu, luckily in recent years this has come back to an understanding of a healthy balanced diet including a little bit of everything (within reason). The second of those changes has come from the refinement of the grains, as society has developed the bread has become more and more “Over processed” by means of bleaching flour and adding many preservatives. Again, in recent years this has started to become less popular with people choosing more Natural breads containing wholewheat flours or with grains.
That was not the story at all, so lets get back on track!
The story was actually using already baked breads to make paper thin bread wafers. For many years I have been using this style of bread wafer for many things, but in this case it is perfect for the Avocado “sandwich” from a previous post. I needed a paper thin piece of bread that would break before it crushed all of the air out of the avocado so when the guest eats the dish they have the same experience from the first mouthful to the last.
It’s a pretty basic technique of freezing the loaf of bread (in this case I used a soy grain bread) then slicing it on a rotary slicer on the finest possible setting. So I managed to achieve 1mm in this case, just thick enough to hold together. Cut it to shape then spray with a Extra virgin olive oil which has been placed in a vaporizer. Season with a good quality salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and slightly press with another “Up-turned” baking tray on top. Bake until slightly golden.
This is a very interesting result from the Agar clarification technique. When you juice a kiwi it makes a very viscous green sludge, and to be honest it looks like it will never clarify! But as you can see from the result it is amazingly clear with a very nice lime green color.
I ran 2 tests on the kiwi: The first was a bit of a no-Brainer, to combine vodka with anything is a pretty safe bet as it is pretty neutral in flavor when mixed and allows the mixer to take center stage. But the second was a very interesting combination as I used the new blue ”London dry Gin”, which by itself has a very complex flavor. I did not know how they would combine, but the result was actually by far the best as the kiwi flavor took it’s place in amongst all the botanical flavors of the gin and did not kill any of the flavors.
I did a testing amongst many of the people here and the results were pretty evenly split. This is definitely not the last you will see of this technique.
A technique which was made very famous by Paco is the “Olive oil Butter”
This is a technique using Cacao butter and some very good (strong) extra virgin olive oil. Paco serves this is the restaurant as a set of 3 with each one being from a different olive. Each one is carefully selected to show the huge difference in between each. It is served with a airbag bread which is separated and 3 different salts are used depending on which oil. This is both a gimmick and practical, in so many restaurants around the world you can get a dish of olive oil on the table which usually ends up dripping everywhere and making a mess. But here we serve it in a tube and it can be squeezed onto the small breads without any dripping, plus it is stable at room temperature.
The best results are using 3-1 Olive oil to Cacao butter. Melt the cacao butter and combine the olive oil. Chill them while whisking until you reach the desired buttery consistancy.