Friday, November 03, 2006


Duck Legs With Figs


I’d better post this recipe quick, before the last of the figs are gone from the market.

What? It’s snowing where you live? Eek! Bummer! But if that’s true, book mark this for next year, when the figs are bursting-ripe, it’s absolutely worth it.

It was 5:30 am last Sunday morning. Must have been daylight savings that had me up early and enjoying the sunshine that was brazenly peeking through my kitchen curtains.

Puttering around in an early morning haze (which, if I must be honest, tends not to wear off later in the day so much as thin out a bit) I kept gazing around. I was wondering what to do for the next five hours, when I was supposed to meet The Queen of the Valley for brunch.

Next thing I knew, I was cooking duck legs.

Sure, sure, it’s not the most conventional breakfast, but I was there, they were there, and a party ensued.

But it was in fact, practically dawn, and I wasn’t really hungry. Which normally would have meant I would have just put aside the dish until lunch...but fate intervened.

My phone ringing (actually, singing “What’s New Pussycat” if you must know) broke into the Arcadian moment. My darling savior of a friend, (for reasons too long to list) The Workaholic, was on the line. He had locked himself out of his (insanely clean, large, brightly lit and highly coveted) apartment on the way to grab the paper, and as luck would have it, I had a spare key and live a few blocks away. (Hey, I like to keep my boys close by!) In a flash he was over, (dressed in his PJ’s....awww) and got the unexpected gift of not only his keys, but a boxed lunch bonus. Duck legs done, photos taken, I certainly had plenty to spare.

Later, just as I sat down to eat, I got an email from The Workaholic (still at work) saying it was superb and the perfect luncheon for a boy on the go. I was pleased as punch to have been able to share.

This recipe is quite simple and full of fruity, rich, dense flavors. I served the duck with cannellini beans that had been cooked with a bit of rosemary, the hint of alpine spice, a great combination for the richness of the duck.

Try this, and enjoy

4 duck legs
½ small shallot, minced
16 figs, halved
Juice of one small tangerine
2 oz vermouth
1/2 cup fig or apricot conserves
salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy pan, saute the duck legs, skin side down until browned. Because duck is so fatty, you will have to periodically drain the fat out of the pan. Pour it into a clean glass jar and reserve for other uses (sauteing potatoes for instance. Mmm.) When the duck is golden, (depends, but should take about 10 minutes) on one side, turn and let finish cooking. (Another 4 minutes should do.) Remove from the pan, drain most of the rest of the fat, then add the shallot to the pan and let wilt a few moments before adding the figs, tangerine juice, vermouth and conserves. Stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper. When the sauce has thickened slightly, pour over the duck legs and serve.

Serves four


In the United States, on November 3, 1966, a law passed stating ingredients were required to be listed on food packages. It was the first truth in packaging law.

In 1991, Food & Wine magazine named Emeril Lagasse "One of America's Top Twenty-Five New Chefs."

" If current trends of overfishing and pollution continue, the populations of just about all seafood face collapse by 2048, a team of ecologists and economists warns in a report in Friday's issue of the journal Science." - AP

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This has definitely been bookmarked... a foot of snow fell last night.
See what happens when you live in Canada! Yikes!

Rachael, something strange happened when I tried to answer your e-mail but basically I wanted to tell you that of course I can help you with your question, especially if I knew where your great-grandmother came from in Sweden. I have a theory... Let´s hope that hotmail works better next time!
You know, you're the best a friend can have.

And this sexy duck legs sure has my vote. Yum!
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