Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pressed Duck, a la Tour D'Argent, Served For the First Time in Canada, at Edulis Restaurant.

Pressed duck, canard a la presse, was a dish made famous by La Tour D'argent in Paris, in a presentation that when first presented, was the height of elegance that was at once both spectacular and barbaric. At La tour D'Argent, this tradion continues. Exemplary chefs Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth, co-owners of Edulis Restaurant, decided to bring this great French tradition to Canada and their restaurant, after sourcing a rare duck press at auction.

At Edulis, ducks are locally sourced, strangled in the traditional manner to retain the blood, and then hung from 2-3 weeks for the flavour of the meat to develop.

The sauce is prepared after the duck is partially roasted, after removal of the breasts and legs, and the remaining carcass with the organs, are laboriously pressed to extract the juices and marrow. These juices are then cooked in a sautee pan to form the final sauce to which the chefs add Fine de Bretagne from Coat Albret, to finish.

When the Tour D'Argent resto began serving their first pressed duck, they began numbering each one and each number was associated with the person(s) to whom they we served. For example, #328 was served to Edward VII; #253652 was served to Charlie Chaplin. To date, well over a million ducks have been served.

Following this tradition, for this first at their restaurant, and in Canada, Edulis has begun numbering their ducks served, and, I am proud to say that my guest and I were served duck #001!

 "The Canard a la Press menu for Josh Josephson and Friends".

Raw, thinly sliced racasse, drizzled with warm butter and topped with thinly shaved Istrian white truffles. A truly remarkable dish of simple flavours and sublime textures. This should be a signature dish for this restaurant.

Fresh, raw bay scallops with herbs, chive oil and ajo blanco (a traditional cold Spanish sauce made with pureed almonds, a bit of garlic and olive oil). Another fabulous dish of harmonious flavours and textures.

Shaved raw matsutake mushroom with conche and duck consomme, the presentation.

The duck stock added to the above dish. Another remarkable dish of pleasing flavours and textures.

Rabbit sausage of perfect texture, pulled squash and chanterelles. Here again, a symphony of flavours, the sweetness of the squash balanced so well with the woody flavours of the chanterelles and the mildly gamey flavour of the rabbit.

The presentation of the Muscovy duck. Look at the perfect appearance of the skin!!

Chef Cabbalo preparing the heart and some of the bones for the press.

 The breasts and legs.

 Chef Tobey Nemeth commanding the press.

 The juices (blood, bone marrow, etc) start to flow.

 The juices will eventually fill this container.

Various ingredients for the duck sauce are first sauteed: raw shallot brunoise, foie gras and sherry vinegar gastrique.

 Duck stock is added to the blood, marrow and sauteed ingredients.

 More pressed duck juices and blood are added.

The carved breast meat, perfectly cooked, is presented with glazed turnips, young onions, roasted quince and buttered chard.

 The blood sauce is added.

The leg meat is served with roasted porcini, frisee, salt cured foie gras, hazelnut crumbs and duck juice vinaigrette.

Citrus sabayon tart with northern kiwis and ground cherries.

These chefs don't miss. I would be hard pressed to experience a meal such as this in Canada. I consider chef Cabbalo a master of refined, rustic cuisine.

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