Last Night's Dinner

Last night Gareth made a special "Bon Voyage" dinner for me to celebrate my first trip overseas, and it was most excellent. After just one bite, I gave it the superlateive "Holy Christ" rating and then hunkered down for some uninterrupted gestation.

I did manage to post a photo on Facebook and have received some inquireies into how the meal was prepared. It was one of those free-form Gareth meals that came together based on his skill and my tastes. Here's an approximation that hopefully makes sense:

Start with packaged raviolis form the fresh pasta section of the grocery store. We used Wegman's Three Cheese raviolis and prepared them according to the instructions on the package.

While the ravioli is cooking, prepare everything else. Slice up the duck breast and cook skin-side down in a heavy skillet. Once the skin has been browned and some of the fat has melted, turn them to cook the meat.

Saute some mushrooms in a separate skillet. Gareth used baby bellas and shitakis in goat butter.

Chop up some fresh herbs for the sauce. Gareth used basil, thyme, cilantro and oregano.

Slice the heirloom tomatoes and  let them soak in a light vinegar, like champagne vinegar.

Cut up some asparagus and add to the mushrooms.

Toss a loaf of bread in the oven to warm without stepping on the cat.

As the asparagus is cooking, make a simple roux out of goat butter, cake flour, heavy cream, a little goat cheese and the minced herbs. I do not have a shot of this. I tried but I got in trouble for "getting in the way" - a serious kitchen faux pas (see the above photo of the heirloom tomatoes, shot from under his slicing arm, which also got me in trouble). Also, we had issues with the roux being too rich. Turns out a little fresh nutmeg will resolve this and balance it out. Use a micro planer to grate the nutmeg into the roux. 

At this point, Gareth added the meat and veg to the sauce and let it finish.

Also, don't be afraid of the goat dairy in this dish. Goat butter and cheese provide a richer, fuller flavor to cooking. The food will not end up tasting like goat, or even musky like goat meat. There will just be an added dimension - almost a gaminess - that conventional cow dairy cannot provide.

And here is the finished product -  ravioli with a single slice of duck breast covered in creamy mushrooms and asparagus with heirloom tomatoes on the side and a little goat butter for the bread. 

Total prep time was about an hour.