My Parisian Restaurant Map

Friday, October 30, 2009

Confit de canard

This is now the second time that I've had confit de canard, and I have to say, it just gets better and better.

By now I'm sure that my obsession with duck fat is pretty clear. But imagine this: a piece of duck leg, cured with salt, rubbed with garlic and then poached in its own fat for anywhere between 2 and 10 hours. Naturally it's always served with my favorite potatoes, which are roasted with garlic in the fat the leg has been poaching in.

Normally I'm not the kind of person who particularly digs fat. I generally tend to pick it off and leave it somewhere on the side of my plate. But there is something about duck fat that is just so delicious, and it seems to be so characteristic of French cuisine. Now I know that that smell I have been smelling on the streets of Paris when I walk by a bistro, that's duck fat. Just throw some in a pan at home along with a clove of garlic and voila, you too can smell Paris at home.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Nesting, aka how to make tomato sauce

"Dream a little dream of me" by Louis Armstrong is playing in the background while I slowly chop shallots, carrots and parsley. I only pause to take the occasional sip of cheap red wine I originally bought just for my sauce.

I'm nesting, or trying to win my never ending battle with tomato sauce.

For some reason, basic tomato pasta sauce is the one thing that I never manage to get right. But recently, during a discussion with my cousin on the major do's and dont's of pasta sauce, I was inspired to give it another try.

So here I am, after researching the topic for a good two hours, attempting to make a good, clean, simple but deep tomato sauce for pasta.

Step 1: Slowly brown a carrot, a shallot (bought in the French countryside on one of the many roadtrips) and 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley for 15-20 min, covered.

Step 2: Add 2 cloves of minced violet garlic (purchased from the same farmer in the country) Add tomato pulp or full tomatoes (canned), a splash of balsamic vinegar (apparently the acidity helps bring out the flavors), the rind of a piece of parmesan, a lot of red wine. Cover and simmer for at least one hour, adding chicken stock when it gets too thick.

Hopefully this one will finally be a good one!
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