Tuesday, September 30, 2008

[Hunger Art]Total Utilization of a Duck

by Mike Pardus

In keeping with our inter-blog discussion on consomme and total utility of food products, I offer this video series in 3 parts (again, YouTube limitations).

The action moves pretty quickly and assumes that you already know how to "break down" a bird. If there's interest, I'll shoot a "Poultry Butchering 101" video later this week.

Oh, before you watch, I'd better explain something.

This demo came out of a discussion about the immorality of wasting food - specifically food that an animal has died to give us. In the video, I talk a lot about total utility and avoidance of waste from a purely financial perspective. Some of my students are at the cutting edge of the sustainable food movement and understand the morality perfectly well while others haven't yet gotten that far yet: they like to cook, it's fun, it's on TV, it's cool, that's it.

Whether they are from one camp or the other, if they make it to the next level, they're going to have to survive in the restaurant business for a long time before they can hope to make an impact on the morality of their peers and the public.

I'm telling you all of this because my monologue mostly addresses the business end of the chain and I wanted you to be sure that you were aware of its primary intent.

Oh, and one more thing, I can already hear some of you asking "But what about the morality of charging $200 for a few duck scraps?" That's like asking an artist to justify the price tag on a painting relative to the cost of the paint. You're not paying for the paint - you're paying for the work created from the paint using years of hard earned, accumulated skill.

Wow, that took more words than I wanted to use...start the video, Bob.

Part 1



Part 2



Part 3

19 comments:

MaryLynn said...

BDG & MP, I can't believe how much I have learned from you two. The last 3 posting have been wonderful. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us! This is the best food blog on the internet.
MaryLynn

Bob del Grosso said...

MaryLynn

Thanks! But if it is the best food blog on the net, it only became so when Pardus started posting.

Erik said...

Great videos. I would be interested in a butchering video as well. Without having to drive long distances, I am only able to get frozen duck. After I break it down, can I refreeze some of the pieces to use at a later date? Or am I better off using everything within a day or two from a quality standpoint?

Bob del Grosso said...

Erik

Freezing previously frozen meat is not a great idea. It's pretty safe to do however the quality usually suffers.

When meat freezes, the water inside the cells expand, and if it expands a lot (as it will if it freezes slowly) it can break through the cell membranes. So when the meat thaws, the water runs out and the meat becomes less juicy.
Cutting the meat causes water loss too as the knife slices through the cells.
Now put the meat back in the freezer, force the water to expand again and the next time you use it it might be pretty dry indeed.

So, if you are starting with frozen duck you will get the best results if you use it ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Great video. I love that you're teaching your students to repect the whole animal. Sign me up for "Poultry Butchering 101." I aways seem to waste more than I should. It would be great to see a video, pictures never seem to tell the whole story.

Jennie/Tikka said...

Great timing on this one! I saw Ming Tsai's duck breast with emulsified foie gras sauce on t.v. yesterday and I decided right then and there that I'm doing duck (again) for the holidays!

blondee47 said...

ten years ago I had the honor of being the first client to serve kosher duck at my son's bar mitzvah since kosher duck's had only just arrived in Montreal and I wanted something different to make my meal stand out. Caterers were not sure that mainstream jewish montreal was ready for it. It was so unusual that for as many people who loved it, there were a few too uneasy to try it. I loved it and until this post never had the gumption to try to cook duck myself.

So thanks for walking me through it.

mike said...

Thank you for this blog. I've been buying a fresh duck about once a month and just practicing on it with the canard sauvauge instructions out of the les halles cookbook.

The biggest issue i've been having has been with serving the breast. When I order it in restaurants it is rare and yet somewhat tender.

When I cook it at home I try to do it rare, but it can be really tough.

is this because my pan isn't hot enough? not enough butter or oil in the pan? lousy ducks? I am scoring the skin and just cooking it for a few minutes on each side.

Thanks again for this blog. i look forward to the poultry lesson.

Mike Pardus said...

Mike - Score the skins, preheat the pan only until warm ( a very light "sizzle" when you put the duck in...place the breast in skin side down and keep the flame low...then go and do something else for about 10 minutes...cookign duck is like cooking bacon - yo have to cook it slowly enough to render out the fat without burning the meat. When the skin a a crisp, deep mahogoney brown and you can actually see the flesh cooking up the side of it, then increase the heat, flip over the breastso that the meat side is down, sear the meat for a minuteor two, and then let it rest - out of the pan, on a rack, for about 5 -10 minutes while yu plate the rest of the meal...the breast should be sliced thinly and arranged on the plate. This method ought to render you a good breast - if not, switch vendors...

mike said...

I will try this weekend. Thank you very much!

Drew said...

Brilliant work! Sign me up for videos by the bushel.

MadFud said...

Talk about a crash course in AMAZING -- thank you both for an incredible opportunity to learn this "waste-not-what-not" approach!!

Cameron S. said...

Fantastic stuff and I would love, love, love to see the poultry videos.

I love this blog as well.

MaryLynn said...

BDG, MP adds another dimension to the comments/information, especially the video presentations. I have read and liked your site for a long time. I guess I have been remiss in not expressing my point of view before. Thanks! MaryLynn

Andrew said...

Thanks for this, super useful for home cooks as well the pros and very inspiring. I'd love a clip demonstrating how to break down a duck (it is definately different than a chicken).
For the home cook looking for duck, the best place to start is the local asian market (don't forget the fresh pork belly).

scott said...

Quite fantastic stuff, Mike. What class is this from?

Also, when rendering the fat, what's the indication that all the water has evaporated (being that it will be below the fat)?

Also -- what's the procedure if one wanted to make "cracklin"? with the skins?

Mike Pardus said...

Andrew said... I'd love a clip demonstrating how to break down a duck (it is definitely different than a chicken).

Uh, Andrew...the title of the post is Total Utilization of a DUCK. The clip shows how to break down a duck...and honestly, it's not much different from a chicken at all. See the next post on breaking down chicken....

Scott - The duck is from my Cuisines of Asia class, but I cross cultural lines to get total utility. You'll know the water is gone when the fat is clear, the bubbles have mostly subsided, and the skin (cracklin's) are brown and crisp.

jsmith--06 said...

chef pardus,
brings back some memories--while we learned a great deal about organizing ourselves in a kitchen and cooking technique, you always took a minute to show us how to make some money too...glad to see your doing well...

mike said...

that worked great. skin not as crispy as i would have liked, but the breast itself was tender and tasty.

Thanks for the advice.