Thursday, September 25, 2008

What the Duck?

A few weeks ago a French friend invited us to dinner at her house. She had recently returned from her summer vacation in the French countryside, where she discovered an amazing butcher. She brought back cans of his Duck confit. Even though I thought that I didn't like duck, I accepted the invitation. We'd been talking about getting together for dinner for weeks and I didn't want to spoil the momentum of the plan.

The first time I tried duck, I was in high school. We had gone out to a "fancy restaurant" with a limited menu. It was that or the steak, and I was going through a (brief) no red-meat phase. The bird was too gamey for my 17-year-old pallet.

The second time I tried it was years later at a Thai restaurant in the East Village. My date was outraged that I, who claimed to (cringe) "be a foodie," didn't like duck. He insisted that I try the duck something-or-other that night. In the end, I found it too greasy. Needless to say, the relationship didn't last either.

So, it was with a little trepidation that I approached my friend's terrace for dinner. Those doubts evaporated the moment I smelt what was coming out of her kitchen. By the time my plate was set in front of me, I knew that this was going to be pure heaven. Rich and deep, the duck was neither gamey nor greasy. She served with a side of potatoes cooked in the duck's fat with garlic and apples. By the time we left, I had my own personal jar of duck fat and the name of a brand of confit to purchase in Paris.

Tonight, Kevin and my in-laws will be served their own portion of duck fat potatoes. What beeter way to get inspired for the French culinary adventures that await us next week.

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