Hey, DUCK! (when avoiding a punch or something) or, DUCK OFF... (when telling someone to sod off), I want to DUCK you, or What kind of Duck are you? (Are you a quack?), ...the dictionary also says duck can mean a playing marble (but not the shooter), or the failure in cricket for the batsman to score. A list of meanings can be found HERE. It's even a type of fabric. In cantonese, "Ngap" is the opposite of "Kai". The word is almost as versatile as its famous cousin, that begins with 2 letters away from D.
I digress. Just as the word DUCK is versatile, so too is the Bird. So, when I saw the flyer from HTC (French Culinary School) with DUCK A to Z, I knew I had to attend this course. The Cuisine Studio outlet in Tropicana apparently has closed, and they have opened an outlet in Sierramas. This class was held at Menara IMC, which according to Chef Jean Michel, is more a pastry kitchen than a food kitchen.
I love watching Jean Michel in action. He oozes enthusiasm and knowledge, and of course, that French accent gives it a whole lot of authenticity..... don't you just love sentences that are punctuated with "bon", or "voila"....
HTC is Menara IMC is a well stocked gourmet paradise, with Valrhona Chocolates, gourmet balsamics, mustards, a wide range of silicon bakeware, tart rings, etc. And I think they do sell frozen foie gras as well.
The various poses of Jean Michel. He dissected the duck with the ease of a surgeon, and proclaimed that no part of the duck goes to waste. And how true that was!!!
Cut-throat takes on a new meaning. It's amazing what one can do with the foreskin of the neck.
Dang, I used to be a Queen in my previous life. Just call me Anne.
Glorious slabs of Duck Breast
The breasts are sprinkled and rubbed... with salt.
The recipes for this class were, Duck Confit, Duck reilletes, duck liver pate, duck confit shepherd's pie, duck breast with pink peppercorn sauce and smoked duck with puy lentils...and all for RM200, which I thought was ducking good value for money.
Stuffed Duck's Neck Skin With More Duck. The filling is minced, and some stuff is added, and then the whole pouch, after it's sewn up like woman who's just given birth, is then confit-ed. Hmm, come to think of it, we didn't get to try this. Probably because we were stuffed. Just like the duck neck skins. Look at the picture of the three sacks snugly resting in the dish.
The fats from 3 ducks, which is rendered to make the duck confit. This is probably one of the reasons why you wont see ME doing this recipe at home. What on earth would I do with three ducks!!!
The aroma of the duck fat wafted through the place...it was like Pork Heaven, but only with duck. Those bits of crispy duck fat, is the duck equivalent of chee yau char...and omigoodddness, excellent!!! Our class of 5 people, plus Jean Michel, kinda finished the whole pot. (That cup was about 1/3rd of the total). Not going for a cholesterol check anytime soon. BUT, according to the Chef, duck fat is good for you, and has no cholesterol. Just look at how long the French live.
Because they had bought like an obscene amount of duck liver, the supplier had thrown in these little hearts, which were skewered yakitori style and pan fried. Absolutely delicious. I wonder if hearts are good for you....but I heart heart. Duck's heart anyway.
The carcasses are made into stock, and any flesh leftover is used for the reillettes.
The duck meat is shredded, (again, not a dish you'd see me making, too much work), and mixed into a pate like concoction, and then chilled. The end product, divine. Goes lovely with bread or crackers. In fact, I think Hairy Berry usually buys jars of this stuff from Singapore in those days when he used to party with us.
The duck liver pate that is ready for selling.
The texture LOOKS a bit rough, but in reality, it was delightfully velvety, and the intense flavours of the duck liver and calvados brandy really makes it an acquired taste. I loved it. We were also fortunate to have in the house Julie Wong, the editor of Flavours Magazine, who said it tasted like durian. Erm, I'm not sure how....
Look at those duck pieces soaking away in pure DUCK OIL!!!
The duck after its 2 hour long spa bath in simmering duck oil. You can imagine the smell... it was heavenly!
You can tell the duck is done when the boner is clean.
Puy Lentils are given a last toss in the duck fat from the pan that was used to sear the duck breast. No waste.
Duck breast with puy lentils. (puy lentils are really expensive, which is why I love attending classed at HTC. They always use the best ingredients!)
The shepherd's pie was gloriously rich, (forgot to take pictures!), because of the inordinate amount of butter used in the mashed potatoes, but you can never have too much butter can you!
Anyway, in conclusion, don't hold your breathe waiting for me to make ANY of this. Firstly, I dunno where to buy duck. 2ndly, you need a truck of duck to make confit. Somehow, I have the feeling its not the same if its confit-ed in normal oil. The good news is, all this stuff is available to buy at Cuisine Studio.... RM25 per leg of duck confit, etc. (to take home).
Check out their website for the interesting weekend workshops and my post on that fabulous baking class way back in 2007. (when I did not know most of you).