Monday, April 16, 2007

Duck Steaks with Roasted Peaches and Cold Sesame Noodles

Okay, I'll fess up. I've never really watched Tyler's Ultimate on Food Network. I've had it on in the background, but I never really watched him. All I know about Tyler Florence is that he is super-cute. And I HATE the How to Boil Water show that he does but that might be because of his dingy co-host. But I realized that I have never given him a chance when I watched his Chefography a few weeks ago. So I decided to order his latest book Tyler's Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Any Time.

Now, I find it a bit presumptuous to call something "THE ULTIMATE". It's okay to be a specialist is something. For example, I'd be okay if he had "Tyler's Ultimate Fried Chicken" or something like that. But a whole book for of ULTIMATE recipes? I was very hesitant. But flipping through the recipes I quickly realized that he has quite a few really, really good meals. The first one I decided to try was his Duck Steaks with Roasted Peaches and Cold Sesame Noodles. This is partly because I have made really good sesame noodles before (soba noodles with a spicy peanut sauce) and I knew I could compare his to the one I already knew I liked. The second is because I am trying to cook with things I have not worked with before and duck was on that list. And how can anyone not want to try roasted peaches?

It took me a little over an hour to prepare this entire meal and I don't think that is bad at all considering how elegant it is. I couldn't find any peaches at the grocery store so I bought a jar of natural peach slices which I think have been boiled or something. I just laid them on the baking sheet and roasted them anyways. Peaches roasted in olive oil with salt sprinkled on . . . yum! The peanut sauce for the soba noodles is really amazing. I love the complex flavors. It is nice and creamy with a bit of heat from the peppers but it is still smooth and has a great consistency to go over the noodles. And as for the duck, I got really lucky. It ended up just perfect!

Duck Steaks with Roasted Peaches
(serves 4)

2 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

2 duck breasts (about 1 1/4 pound total)
Toasted sesame oil
Cold Sesame Noodles (recipe follows)
Watercress, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the peaches all over with salt and pepper. Put them cut sides up on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Throw them in the oven and roast until the peaches are very tender when you stick a knife in them, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the duck breasts on a cutting board skin side up and score all over in a tiny crosshatch pattern so that as much of the fat as possible will render and the skin will crisp. Season all over with salt and pepper and drizzle with sesame oil. Film the bottom of a large saute pan with olive oil and put the pan over medium heat. Add the breasts, skin side down, and cook slowly for about 10 minutes, until the fat is rendered and the skin is browned and crispy. Occasionally dump the fat out into a bowl. Turn the breasts and cook on the other side for 1 or 2 more minutes for medium-rare. Take the breasts out of the pan and put them on a platter to rest.

Cold Sesame Noodles
(serves 4)

Kosher salt
1/2 pound dried buckwheat (soba) noodles
9 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1-inch piece of fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves
1 fresh red Thai chile or 1 jalapeno chile, minced, seeds and all
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
6 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon chile sauce or 1 teaspoon sambal
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal

Cook the soba noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook until barely tender and still firm, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water to cool. Drain the noodles really well, transfer to a wide serving bowl, and toss immediately with 3 tablespoons of the sesame oil.

Peel the ginger and garlic cloves and smack with the back of a knife. In a saucepan, heat 4 tablespoons of the sesame oil over medium-low heat. Add the ginger, garlic, and chile. Cook, stirring for a minute until the vegetables are soft and fragrant. Dump that into a blender along with the brown sugar, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, hot water, chile sauce, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sesame oil; puree and refrigerate until cold.

Toss the noodles with the peanut sauce. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and scallions.


The TriniGourmet said...

oh my that looks and sounds so good :) i never understood tyler's appeal... he totally turns me off on food 911, but he's better on tyler's ultimate... i think he just turns smarmy around women :P his recipes always look decent tho, i have several bookmarked :) except for one bajan recipe that he got all wrong :)

j'adore duck :)

anyway, i've been AWOL for a while and it's good to be back! :)

Kate said...

I have two of his cookbooks and I really like 'Ultimate' a lot. He is pretty cute too, but I think he comes across better in a book than on TV. I haven't seen much in his 'Ultimate' book that doesn't look fantastic.

Brilynn said...

That sounds like one tasty combination. I've never actually seen his show either.

Susan said...

I made a pork dish with roasted peaches last summer for company, and it was a hit. Yours with duck sounds much more elegant though and looks lovely.

reog said...

if you cook duck try to put in kaffir lime leaves, the leaves made duck meat more tender

greetings from : reog foodie