A meal in itself, or at least a wonderful starter for a meal.
Here is a killer Crispy Duck Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette:
- Canadian duck breast
- Sauté on high to crisp up fat. Finish for 3-5 minutes in 525 degree oven.
- Set aside to render
- Par-boil the following vegetables (don’t overcook). Al dente. Dry and chill.
White and green asparagus spears
Multi-colored Bell Pepper strips
Zucchini, green and yellow
4 red and yellow grape tomatoes
1 large lemon. You will hollow out the flesh and use as a decorative container for your vinaigrette. Have fun with it. It will also add a delicate citrus finish in contrast to the sweet/sour of the vinaigrette.
3 cup raspberry vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 pint red raspberries
½ diced shallot
Reduce to 1/3 on medium heat. Strain through sieve. Chill. This is a flavor-intense salad dressing and is used sparingly.
Slice the duck breast into thin strips.
Now comes the fun part. Building the plate into the final product. The things to look for in French cuisine are depth, textures, flavor, symmetry, and color. After you plate, before the salad leaves the kitchen, it better make me say “wow” every time or it didn’t leave the kitchen.
I encouraged creativity by my staff in all my kitchens and always gave them credit for anything they created. I worked in kitchens with chefs who would never recognize any contributions other than their own reputation and greatness. I learned great skills from these men, but nothing of people skills.
OK, now you see what it takes to prepare a salad in a French kitchen. You should also be able to see that when you order something as simple as a vegetable salad, there is a lot more involved than grabbing a handful of lettuce and throwing it on a chilled plate. It should also explain the 20 dollar price tag.
French food and the preparation of such is an art.
So treat yourself when you are able. Venture into the world of haute cuisine where you can spoil yourself and enjoy the food, the ambience, and all that is entailed in a memorable evening. You are paying top dollar; expect beautiful and delicious food and great service.