Monday, December 7, 2009

Duck Buns, Nouveau Roots, Steamed Greens

I am very pleased with myself. This meal was one of my first attempts at Momofuku-izing my kitchen, and it turned out very, very well. Call it fusion cooking if you like. But it's not that I'm not trying to cross one thing with another; rather, I'm drawing from all my favorite influences and the best that the place and the season have to offer, all the while taking dead aim at utter appetizingness.

No, really, it was damned tasty.

Smoked duck with homemade spicy "hoisin" sauce and steamed buns.

Roasted garden carrots with mustard-maple glaze.

Roasted garden baby beets with fish sauce vinaigrette, steamed beet greens.

The smoked duck was from the charming Wemeier clan, otherwise known as Bar 5 Meat and Poultry ("Everything from feet to feathers!"). They sell at the Minneapolis and Hopkins farmers markets in the summer and fall, and at the Saint Paul Farmers market year-round. All their products are great, but the smoked duck is in a league of its own. This was actually our third meal from this bird: we had the legs and a few breast slices with braised red cabbage and spaetzle, sandwiches of sliced breast meat topped with leftover cabbage, and I picked the carcass clean for this dinner.

The steamed buns: I used a standard "flower bun" recipe like this one, omitting the scallions and the fancy shaping. Here's the Momofuku version. This whole Internet-Google deal is just amazing....

The sauce: I was going to thin some hoisin sauce from a jar, but found I was out of hoisin sauce. In a mini food processor I combined some broad bean chili paste, some dark soy sauce, some maple syrup, and a splash of water. Whizzed till it was all puréed and a bit emulsified--who needs hoisin?

The beets were "baby" red and gold beets from our garden. In reality they were full-season, stunted beets; I'm not so good at thinning my vegetable garden. But no matter, they were sweet and tender after enduring many a frost. I roasted them, covered, in a Pyrex dish at 375 for about 40 minutes.

The tender tiny beet "greens"--really reds and golds--I placed in a bowl and steamed in my bamboo steamer, since I had it out for the buns.

I tossed both the beets and greens with
Momofuku's fish sauce vinaigrette. (This recipe writing is a snap when you can just cop someone else's stuff. And by "cop" I of course mean, "pay homage to.")

Well, I do take credit for the carrots, which were made this way:

Roast Baby Carrots with Maple-Mustard Glaze

2 cups baby carrots, scrubbed (mine weighed 9 ounces)
1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp canola or grapeseed oil
pinch of salt, grind of pepper

Combine all the above in a gratin dish or small baking dish. Roast, uncovered, at 375 for 45 minutes, until they become a little brown and glazy. Stir them every 15 minutes during this time.

Remove from the oven and add:

1 rounded tsp grain mustard
1/8 tsp piment d'espelette, or a good pinch of cayenne (optional)
1 tsp red wine vinegar

Add another grind of pepper, taste for salt. Serve warm or at room temp.

I don't think I ever saw a beet when I was in China, and though there were carrots, they were never served roasted, as most Chinese homes lack an oven. But the beets took nicely to that Asian "vinaigrette," (Momofuku chef Tien Ho refers to it as "Vietnamese ketchup"), and the
carrots glazed with maple syrup, punched up with mustard and vinegar, had a subtle, earthy, sweet & sour quality.

We opened a bottle of
Viking Brewing Company's "mjod,", a sort of malted mead, made by our Wisconsin neighbors Randy and Ann Lee in Dallas, WI. Skol, gan bei, bottom's up, and bon appetit.

Text and photos copyright 2009 by Brett Laidlaw


Tom said...

I like to see you are being the change you want to see in the world! The meal looks delicious; I am envious of your little garden carrots.

Kris said...

Bar 5 is one of my go-to meat vendors at the St. Paul farmers market and a really great family. I've never gotten a duck from them but after reading this, just might have to add it to my next purchase.

Wendy Berrell said...

You pull off some sweet stuff in the kitchen. Looks like you put in proper study, time and work. A person could learn a lot here. I should be a more frequent reader.

Trout Caviar said...

Hey, Tom: I find that now that we can no longer just stroll out to the garden and pick our supper, or choose from the dizzying selection of vegetables at the market--now that it's frikkin' winter, in other words--a little imagination goes a long way in keeping dinnertime interesting. We had a bumper crop of carrots this year--volunteers, if you can believe it. You'll no doubt be seeing more orange at this site in future!

Kris, by all means, delve into the world of duck. It's one of my favorite meats. I have a few recipes for duck tagged here. My favorite preparations: sear the breast, make a sauce; confit the legs. Bar 5 is a good source for whole ducks. Clancey's in Linden Hills (tell Kristen I said hi!) carries Au Bon Canard products--you can buy two-packs of drumstick-thigh portions, or those amazingly meaty breasts of foie gras ducks (magrets, in French). And of course that wonderful foie gras. Have fun. Don't fear the fat (potatoes fried in duck fat are manna from heaven).

Wendy, I just have a lot of fun trying different things, and I'm fortunate to have been exposed to a lot of different styles of cooking, and to have great raw material to work with. But thanks for the kind remarks, and yes, you really should be a more frequent reader (!).

Cheers, all, thanks for reading, and writing~ Brett