I told you they’d be back! After the Beer Experiment on Sunday, we kicked back and celebrated Bonnie’s win and Nick’s successful event with more food & drink, of course! That’s the problem when you work with food vs. finance. When something good would happen at work when I was in finance, I would celebrate with a glass of wine and a decadent meal. Now when something good happens at work it usually already involves a glass of wine and a decadent meal and then I have to follow it up with more wine and more decadence. I eat cause I’m happy and I’m happy cause I eat – vicious cycle.
Nick’s dad, Santi, had a great idea to barbecue duck breasts. My whole life, I’ve grown up with barbecue. My dad is a little OBSESSED with cooking outdoors, which INCLUDES but is not limited to barbecue. I’ve lived in cities since I left for college at 18, which has meant never owning a little weber of my own. This is going to sound crazy (most of my blog does), but I imagine that day when I’ll have a small yard and be able to put my own grill out there as a mark of having “made it.” What will I have made? Who knows, but I’ll know that I’ve made it by the smell of meat browning over hot coals.
Santi put me in charge of the marinade and I started to raid the Suarez cabinets and fridge. While I did that, Santi pulled out the pickled raisins and suggested putting them on top of the duck. Damn, those Suarez’s have a natural culinary gene that just stacks them above everyone else. As I rummaged, I found soy sauce,pre-made Unagi Sauce (that sweet, thickened soy mix that tops your eel sushi), piri piri, rice vinegar, fig jam, honey, ginger powder, and Bonnie came back from the market with more duck breasts and garlic and scallions just in time. Then, I decided to throw a handful of the raisins right into the marinade with the idea that afterwords, I could reduce the whole shabang into a yummy sauce. I wish I could give you exact amounts, but I just kept adding ingredients and adjusting as necessary. It’s probably close to this, though – please adjust as necessary:
2 cups soy sauce
1 cup pickled raisins
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup Unagi Sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup fig jam
1 t piri piri
2 garlic cloves (minced)
2 scallions (thinly sliced into small rounds)
The duck breasts marinated for under 30 minutes – too long and the vinegar starts to basically cook the meat. While Santi grilled them to perfection (literally – it was textbook medium-rare), I reduced the marinade with about a 1.5 cups of a Burgundy Chardonnay that added just the right amount of acid and bite. I added just a splash more of rice vinegar at the end to help boost the tartness to balance out the richness of the smokey duck. I loved the charring on the duck skin and how nicely the sweet and gamey duck benefitted from the grill flavors. Slathered in sauce with plump, savory and tart pickled raisins that had further rehydrated in the marinade, and I was in heaven. Good company, good food, and I didn’t have to do any dishes. What more could you ask for?