Herbs crusted arancino of venetian duck ragu. Blackberry Madeira wine reduction. Minted pea puree. Wild blackberry leaf oil. Blackberry in lime zest vinaigrette. Flowers, fresh sage.
Pairing duck with fruits is traditional in many cultures. Think of oranges (France and Italy), prunes (Danemark), berries (England), or apples (Russia)...
When I moved to Madeira and started exploring the wilderness, I was mesmerized by the number of wild blackberry bushes growing almost everywhere. Our first duck recipe had to feature them.
First as a fruity Gastrique sauce, by combining blackberries with local artisanal apple cider. And reducing it, to concentrate flavors, decrease acidity and increase viscosity.
Then as blackberry leaf oil. For its wonderful herbaceous green-tea-like flavour. We gather wild blackberry leaves and blend them with sunflower oil. Straining the mixture through a cheesecloth, over a bowl sitting on ice. The ice under the bowl helps retain the oil’s vibrant green colour. Making for a nice color contrast upon plating, with the deep red tones of the sauce reduction.
Finally by using a whole blackberry, marinated in a lime zest vinaigrette. To impact it with acidic and zesty citrus notes.
Arancini are stuffed rice balls coated with bread crumbs and deep fried.
A recipe coming from Italy, introduced to me by a couple of Italian friends when I was living in Cambodia.
Our arancino (singular for Arancini) is made with a filling of red wine braised duck ragu.
MINTED PEA PURÉE
Fresh harvested green peas are blanched and pureed with fresh mint and a pinch of vitamin C. We stress-out the words “fresh harvested”, because the sugars green peas contain are quickly lost after harvest. If you cannot get fresh harvested peas then you are better off using frozen peas, that have been frozen within hours of harvesting (look for this information on the packaging).
To help the purée retain a bright green color here are 3 tips: - Make sure to plunge the peas in an ice bath as soon as they are out of the boiling water. - Add a couple of ice cubes in the blender when blending the purée. - A pinch of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) helps maintain the bright green colour of the purée by delaying oxidation.