We have been experimenting with some new dishes that are finished at the table. I like serving dishes this way in the restaurant as it gives the diners more of a sense of involvement in the final dish and it is good to be able to talk to the customers at the same time. Generally this involves saucing the plate in front of the customer or perhaps grating a little apple to finish a dish, but with this one, the duck breast is cooked in a sealed simple salt dough wrap which is presented, and opened in front of, the customer.
It is a very easy and flavoursome way of cooking duck.
Duck breast in a salt dough parcel
1. Heat the oven to 150 degsC.
2. Remove the skin from the duck breasts.
3. Mix the flour, salt and water together to form a rough dough that is not sticky and is easy to handle. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin and cut into two.
4. Place a duck breast and a sprig of rosemary in the middle of each piece of dough and then fold the dough over to enclose. Moisten seams and press to ensure it is sealed.
5. Lay the parcels on a non-stick baking sheet and bake in the oven at 150 degsC for 25 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes - the duck will continue to cook, but the pastry will remain pale.
6. Remove duck, discarding pastry and rosemary. Slice the duck attractively, and serve, perhaps with a spiced port sauce.
For two people
Two Barbary or Gressingham duck breasts
500g plain flour
About 170ml water
Two sprigs fresh rosemary
Chris Duckham is a GP in Tongue and Armadale, Sutherland, and runs Restaurant Cote du Nord (www.cotedunord.co.uk). Email comments or queries to GPlife@haymarket.com
And for THE wine...
Decanter magazine says: 'If you're fond of the classic wine and food matches then no doubt you should be considering the Pinot Noir grape, which won't overpower the delicacy of the bird. If you plump for the spicy port sauce then you can perhaps afford to be a bit more adventurous. Try:
Caves Saint-Pierre, Preference, Cotes du Rhone Villages 2006. £7.49 Tesco. 'Light nose with sweet red fruit and spices.'
Domaine Mallard, Ladoix 1er Cru Les Joyeuses 2005.
£22 Swig. www.swig.co.uk 'Fragrant, easy and fresh. Very Pinot.'
Louis Jadot, Cote de Beaune Villages 2005. £9.99 Sainsbury, Waitrose. 'Clean and fresh. Soft spice.'