Pan Seared Duck with Orange Chipotle Sauce

2nd June, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Main Courses, Moderate

First, a confession. See the picture? Where’s the succulent, juicy, rare slices of beautifully seared duck breast, with crispy skin and lovely sauce? What’s that dark flesh that could be anything? Well, um…

I actually shot the photograph of the leftovers that I had for lunch today. When cooking for company, they’re rarely patient enough to wait around whilst I go about fiddling with plating and lighting and photographing the food I’m about to serve them; they want to eat, and preferably, while the food is still warm. So I had to make do with the leftovers. I’d put the tiny little pieces of duck breast in the fridge, along with the sauce, so the meat got much darker than it was on the night of serving, and the gorgeous golden, crispy skin turned into what you see here . Still, it was a deliciously decadent lunch. So it goes. You’ll have to take my word for it; it was much prettier the night before. If you want to see other pictures of nicely presented duck flesh, do a search. The web is littered with ‘em. Then, come back here for something really delicious, a bit showy for your guests, and quite easy to do.

Basically, this is a riff on the classic canard a l’orange. The addition of some sweet pickled chipotles adds a spicy, fragrantly smoky character to the dish that plays wonderfully with the orange sauce, without overwhelming the wonderful taste of the duck.

You can use mallards or teals, or whatever your hunting friends can be talked into bringing over. (Thanks, Norbert!) Whatever duck you choose, the key is to not overcook it. Read more…»

Cioppino Bianco

25th May, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Main Courses, Moderate, Soups

The now classic cioppino was originally developed in San Francisco in the late 1800s by Italian fishermen who had settled in the city’s North Beach area. Fresh fish, the catch of the day – typically crab, shellfish, squid and fin fish – are brought together with garlic, tomatoes and wine to make a rich, delicious red seafood stew, usually served with a crusty, rustic sourdough bread [1].

This version is a little lighter, but no less delightful. The more delicate saffron infused broth showcases the delicious sweetness of fresh mussels, clams and shrimp. A little smoked fin fish, and some velvety yellow eye beans add depth and texture. A garnish of gremolata brings up the high notes, and really makes it sing. Read more…»

Chicken Marrakesh

10th April, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Main Courses, Moderate

This is actually the dish that inspired the creation of Marrakesh Sunset in the first place. We’d gone out for a lovely Morrocan meal, and I fell in love with a Chicken Tagine, with Citron Confit, or preserved lemon. After its haunting my dreams for a couple weeks, I didn’t just want it, I had to have it. So, I looked up a dozen or so recipes for similar dishes, spent several hours experimenting with the balance of the spices, and this delightfully simple but richly flavored and delicious dish was the result.

This is traditionally cooked in a tagine, a shallow clay pot with a tall, conical lid designed to seal in the goodness. The stew would be braised in the tagine until tender; then, the lid would be removed, and the pot brought to table for service. The recipe here is adapted for the cooktop using a 4-5qt sauteusse, deep skillet or even a Dutch oven, but if you have a tagine, it’s even better. Read more…»

Fusili with Tomato Cream

3rd April, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Main Courses, Moderate, pasta

Tomato cream sauces can be wonderful, and are a great addition to the culinary repertoire, but often, they end up a little lacking in that wonderful tomato flavor that we crave. My approach is to turn the knobs to eleven, amping everything up, so that when the cream is added in the final steps, there’s still lots of tomato goodness, tons of flavor and amazing mouth-watering aromas. And, we’ll do it without tomato paste.

The method is simple, but requires a little attention. We’ll cook down and caramelize the tomatoes, add some sun-dried to amplify the flavors, and use an unexpected ingredient. (Even if you think you hate anchovies, try it my way. They add some body and depth, and amp everything up, but won’t make the sauce fishy; you won’t really taste them, but you’d notice if they weren’t there.) Read more…»