Frank Deis wrote:I haven't had the chance to talk to the produce manager at Wegman's yet -- but reading online, romanesco usually appears in the marketplace in October and November. So it's not likely to be easy to find in May. If that's true, what do I do instead? I want to keep the potato-celeriac mash, so that makes cauliflower not good since it's white. And broccoli -- not everyone likes it. The classic match with confit duck leg is cannelini beans, or other beans, because of the association with cassoulet. But that kind of lowers the tone of the plate. Want to suggest something?
I've been thinking something like snow peas or sugar snaps might be a little surprising and taste good in combination?
I agree that the plate needs a green/third element, but I'd like to steer you away from a three-plop presentation. The potato cylinders (great idea) need to stand alone, so the duck confit should be parked on or against the third item such that it not only adds the desired color but keeps the duck legs from slippy-sliding out of placement and into the potatoes like wrecking balls as the plates are ferried to the table. Something green and leafy would work very well, IMO. Spinach with butter, garlic and lemon juice; rappini, swiss chard (the all white stalks, preferably), or a Brussels sprout hash (season only with butter and cardamom seed), just to name a few things, would all work beautifully and give you that intense emerald color. They would also all add some nutritional balance--fiber, and no carbs.
Love the first course. But I agree with whoever said that the Sauternes and the pickles (otherwise, a great love of mine) would be at odds. However, I also agree with whoever thought that plate also needs another detail. My first thought is something I had once at Patina in Los Angeles--a warm 'marmalade' garnish of fresh kumquat slices pan seared and combined with (probably) some orange marmalade out of a jar. Looks gorgeous on the plate, puts a major liplock on the citrus elements in the wine, and it creates fabulous aromas for a plate that otherwise has very little. People eat with their eyes first and nose second--something like this would feed both. Could even go sweet-savory and add some cracked green peppercorns to it.
Re that same course, I am leery about you trying to cut the foie into batons because they would be very difficult to handle without getting finger prints on them. Have you thought of that? Best maybe to cut slices?. Is there an aspic layer on top? If not, the oval ends can probably be flattened a little before slicing so that the portion sizes don't appear uneven.