When Picasso visited Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, a feast was held featuring good food and fine wines. Ms. Toklas prepared dinner for many literary notables including Hemingway and Fitzgerald. For Picasso, it was roast duck which he thoroughly enjoyed, remarking that it was perhaps better suited for Mattise. Many proven recipes for duck cooked in the oven are worthy and I offer a very simple but delicious one.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings would shoot wild mallards, roasting them for dinner guests in her Cross Creek Florida home, serving fine French Bourgogne Rouge. Her book, Cross Creek Cookery deserves a place on a shelf near your kitchen.
Early Spring Fruit Salad
¼ seeded watermelon (depending on size), peeled and diced large
2 mangoes, peeled and diced large
1 pint blueberries, rinsed
2 tablespoons Tupelo honey
¼ cup fresh mint, hand torn
2 limes, juiced
fresh oranges for garnish
1 small pinch sea salt
In a medium-sized mixing bowl add lime juice, honey, and salt. Stir the lime juice mixture to get the flavors working together. Add all of the rest of the ingredients, and gently stir to combine. Keep fruit salad refrigerated until ready to eat. Garnish salad with fresh orange pieces.
Celebrity Roast Duck
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
Remove duck from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before cooking to ensure uniformed cooking. Remove duck from packaging and take out the neck and giblets from the cavity. Rinse under cold running water both inside and out, then pat dry using paper towel to get a more crispy skin.
Season. Cover the wings and legs with aluminum foil to avoid them from drying while cooking. Place the duck in a Dutch oven breast side up. Place a mixture of vegetables (carrots, onion, garlic, celery coarsely chopped) and a bouquet garni (thyme, parsley, juniper berries, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaf) in the cavity of the bird.
Cover and roast in oven for 2 hours.
Remove the aluminum foil and continue cooking uncover for 30 to 40 minutes to make the skin crispy and brown. When the duck is fully cooked the internal temperature at the junction of the leg and thigh should be 82°C (180°F) and thighs should come apart easily. Calculate about 60 min/kg. Let the duck rest, covered with a sheet of aluminum foil for about 10 to 15 minutes in order to tenderize the meat.
South Georgia Tomato Cornbread
2 large heirloom tomatoes, chopped
2 cups Logan Turnpike cornmeal
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 onion, diced small
1 cup jack cheese, grated
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Prepare cornbread batter as indicated on the package. Preheat oven per package instructions. Preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook onion until tender in a small amount of olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper. Fold half of the cheese and buttermilk into the cornbread batter. Pour batter into pan over the onions. Add remaining cheese to the top of the cornbread mixture. Sprinkle the tomatoes over the batter. Bake as directed. Remove from oven when golden brown and cooked throughout. Let cool slightly and serve warm.
Florida Blueberry Key Lime Pie
Graham Cracker Crust
3 tablespoons Florida sugar
1½ cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
? cup butter, melted
Key Lime Pie Filling
½ cup fresh squeezed Florida Key lime juice
3 teaspoons fresh Key lime zest
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
Florida Blueberry Topping
2 cups Florida blueberries
½ cup apricot jam
¼ cup water
Graham Cracker Crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar. Stir ingredients to combine. Press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool completely. Set aside.
Key Lime Pie Filling:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine condensed milk, egg yolks, Key lime juice and Key lime zest. Use a whisk to make sure all ingredients are combined (the combined ingredients will naturally thicken slightly). Pour Key lime pie filling mixture into the cooled graham cracker crust. Bake pie for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pie looks almost set. Remove pie from oven and let cool to room temperature. Cover pie and place in the refrigerator as it is best served cold. To serve, top pie with fresh whipped cream and slices of fresh Key lime.
Heat the apricot jam and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until completely melted. Arrange blueberries in a single layer over the Key lime pie. Using a pastry brush, brush a layer of melted jam over the blueberries. Serve cool.
Sir Verde’s Wine Suggestion: The Maison Roche de Bellene 2016 Vieilles Vignes Gevrey-Chambertin would please Picasso, Hemingway and Rawlings. Wonderful with roast duck.
Be happy. Bonne dégustation. Love one another.