Probably this is what it's all about, snap and snippets of a place, of a history, of a soul.
Analyzing a place is an intricate matter of observation, experience, concentration and time. As an impressionist painter, we want to record Nature and its colorful shadows; the people that make it and its most remote corners that bear an incredible power of synthesis.
It took me many subsequent visits to Paris before I could feel allowed to take snapshots of it. Somehow I always feel like I need to be at "home" to let the juices flow unarmed by logistic worries.
Letting the spirit of the place invade us is what we need to do, is what we ask for; probably this is what lies behind the Stendhal' syndrome (LINK) attacks. The beauty and expressivity of a piece of art can struck cords that quickly transport us in new places inside ourselves. Can cooking be considered a form of artistic expression? When is a dish a piece of art? Does it have to arouse the souls of many to be called so or just 1 person is enough?
Let's not open this Pandora's box now, this is matter for another discussion...
Ingredients (serve 2):
- 300g duck breast
- 100g yellow onion, sliced
- 100g red onion, sliced
- 1/2tsp tomato paste
- 1tbsp white wine
- 1/2tbsp duck fat
- red chili flakes
- 2tbsp orange juice
- 1/2 tsp Orange zest loosely packed
- 1 green olive in brine, cut in wedges
- 1/2tsp green olive's brine
- salt and pepper
Score the duck-breast' skin with few slits not deeper than the skin itself. Place it, skin-side down, on a cold skillet and warm the whole on a medium fire. The fat will render and may start splatter, in this case transfer some of it in a small pot.
Fry the duck breast on the skin-side until it will become crisp and of a deep golden color. In the meantime warm up the oven to 200C/390F; if the skillet you are using is not oven-safe, place a cookie sheet in the warming oven.
When the duck-breast skin will be crisp and of a nice golden color, turn it over and let it cook for 1-2 minutes or until the under side will have started to take on color. At this point
While the duck is cooking, take care of the rest of the dish.
Pour some oil in a skillet and let it warm on medium fire; when it will start shimmering add the sliced onions and let them fry till a dark brown color. At the end add to the skillet the tomato paste diluted in the white wine, stir, season and take out of the fire. Keep warm.
For the sauce, pour the duck fat in a small saucepan and add the chili flakes; let them simmer for 30 seconds or so. Add the orange juice and zest to the saucepan and let the whole reduce of 1/3rd or until thickened. Toward the end season with the green olive wedges, its brine and if needed salt and pepper. Keep warm.
When the duck will have done resting, pour some of the leaked juices into the sauce and whisk together. Slice the duck breast into thick slices on a bias; divide the onions between the two plates, place the duck breast slices on them and drizzle the whole with the orange sauce.