At last, an opportunity to try one of David Tanis's menus from A Platter of Figs! With avid carnivores coming over for Sunday lunch, I decided on the roasted pepper salad with liver toasts, and double duck breast roast with baked figs.
It shouldn't be hard to get hold of duck breasts these days, but I had to order them in at our local butcher, two days in advance. Four large breasts for £11 isn't unreasonable, and I know many who love the rich, gamey flavour of duck meat, so why are no E17 supermarkets or butchers stocking it? I'd like to see cheaper cuts of meat (trotters, pork belly etc.) made more accessible, too.
Back to the grub. The double duck breast is an ingenious and simple dish. You simply rub the breasts with a spice mixture the night before (crushed cloves, juniper berries, allspice, peppercorns, salt and garlic), tie two breasts together - skin side out - with a few bay leaves in the middle to create two sandwiched roasts, and chill them overnight.
Next, sweet pepper salad. Tanis recommends removing skin not by sealing them in a plastic bag after grilling/charring, but leaving them to cool as they are. It stops them steaming and overcooking, and it was just as easy to peel off the skins. We served them with antipasti and thin toasts with foie gras.
Next, the roast duck... with wilted greens, dauphinoise potatoes and baked figs. The figs were a let down - they just collapsed into soggy wet mush.
And finally, a recipe from Richard Corrigan's A Clatter of Forks and Spoons for dessert. Sharp lemon posset, with a base of fresh raspberries.