Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pekin Duck Cutlets & Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

unWine'd with a pour...

I was vacationing in San Francisco a few years ago and had dinner at "Gary Danko."  It's a very nice restaurant, impeccable service as well as a great atmosphere and food.  Give it a try the next time you're in San Fran.

I'm always looking at restaurant menus for new cooking ideas and just happened upon this "Pekin Duck Cutlet" recipe from Gary Danko in my most recent Wine Spectator magazine.  So, I decided that I was going to give this recipe a try; moreover, I've not prepared duck before so it was a new challenge.  Being that Pekin Duck is not found locally where I live, I reached out to my local butcher "Tag'z" and had him find it for me.  Tag'z is my go-to for fine foods.

The wine I chose was an '09 Rodney Strong Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley (Sonoma Coast).  The Russian River is West of the Santa Rosa, CA area and one of my personal favorites for Pinots.  This wine (<$20) is a light, brick, red in color with red fruit on the nose, Bing Cherry being the most noticeable.  It's aromatic with nice acidity and a medium body.  The tannins are mild and it has a nice finish.  It pairs very well w/ the herbal and citrus flavours in the duck and vegetables.

Making the Duck Cutlets: (Reference - Wine Spectator Magazine)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 cup orange juice, reduced to 1/2 cup
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 Pekin Duck breasts (4 halves), skinless, w/ tenderloin removed
1 eggplant, cut into 1/2" rounds
2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise, 1/4" thick

1.  Combine the first 8 ingredients to make the marinade.  Divide into two equal parts and set aside.
2.  Place one whole breast in a large, resealable plastic bag.  Lay it flat on the counter, and with a rubber mallet, pound the meat.  Start in the middle and work outward, both sides, until the breast is 1/2" thick.
3.  Remove the first breast from the bag, and repeat the pounding process with the remaining breasts.  Place half the marinade in the bag with the breasts, and place in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.  Marinate the vegetables in the remaining marinade for an hour or two prior to cooking.
4.  Preheat the grille to med-high heat.  Grille the vegetables 3 - 5 mins or to your preference.
5.  Remove duck breasts from the refrigerator before cooking to allow the meat to come back to room temp.  With the grill on med-high heat, grille the breasts for 2 - 3 mins per side for a nice med-rare.  Let rest for a few mins before slicing.  Slice thinly at a 45 degree angle, serve with vegetables.  Cheers....

Getting started...

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