By: Rebecca Charur
Back in the good ol' days as a kid, I enjoyed the occasional game of duck duck goose. Today, as an adult, I found myself playing a game by the same name but at a backyard soiree in Wynwood.
This past Saturday, the gastroPod Miami was home to twelve of the city's top chefs showcasing poultry's creative edge. The soiree was appropriately named Duck Duck Goose, because well there was duck. And, then there was more duck. And, after a couple plates, I was left chasing the medley of savory and smoky flavors.
When walking through the yard, I couldn't help but feel as if Wynwood had become a family BBQ. There was that odd hipster cousin with a shirt that read "You had me at duck fat." On the other side, uncles and fathers were sipping from their cold beers as they crowded the smoking grill. However, this time it wasn't the men that were grilling-- but a star-studded lineup of local chefs.
Suddenly, the family BBQ scene had transformed into a large gathering of people with an affinity for duck-- a family in itself.
So although the picnic tables and giant Jenga made you feel right at home, these chefs were whipping up plates that were far from traditional.
Dish: French toast fried in duck fat
Chef: Josh Gripper
Restaurant: The Dutch
Sorry white girls, there's nothing basic about this brunch.
Chef Gripper struck gold when he began frying his toast in duck fat, creating a perfectly crisp layer. One bite left your taste buds dancing with the melt-in-your-mouth sensation of the sugary warm bread. Yes, French toast is already delicious in itself but trust me, the duck fat only makes it that much better. Frying something in duck fat has no over powering flavor but can change the whole game just by the rich silky feel it gives everything it touches.
If that wasn't enough, the garnish left my Italian roots craving another sample plate. On top of the crisp French toast was a duck meat lover’s version of the classic Italian appetizer of prosciutto and melon. Instead of the typical ham prosciutto, however, a thin leaf of duck prosciutto accompanied the compressed melon ball.
I guess you could say this dish had me at duck fat?
Dish: Scotch Duck Egg with Duck Sausage
Chef: Babe Froman
Restaurant: Fine Sausages
If there is ever the time for a bad pun, it's now. This one literally left me muttering, "What the Duck." The dish encompassed every aspect of a duck, beginning with the inside out.
At the center you had the duck egg, then surrounded by a spiced duck sausage. Next, the meat was breaded and then fried in duck fat (there we go again). Top it off with some duck skin chicharron and garnished with a slice of duck bacon and a strip of crisp duck jerky.
The only thing missing was the bone.
Dish: Duck Confit Mac and Cheese
Chef: Brian Millian
Restaurant: Ms. Cheezious
Let's all take a moment to thank Ms. Cheezious for always killing the grilled cheese game. Now let's take another moment to thank Chef Millian for introducing us to the greatest thing we didn't even know our grilled cheeses needed: duck confit.
As I took my first bite, the oil rich flavor of the shredded dark meat sank into my mouth wrapped in the warm blanket of cheesy pasta. But, what truly deemed this grilled cheese worthy of the title of one of the greatest dishes of the night was the commitment to the duck down to the type of cheese. Toss in some duck fat gouda mornay and duck speck crumble and the trap is set. No duck meat lover can resist.
Sure a good old duck dish might not be everyone's top pick off the menu but why not try everything once, right?? So give the dark side of poultry a shot and enjoy the #foielife.