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Recipe: Minorcan-Style Duck with Green Olives

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Note:This was an instant hit with the tasters in The Times Test Kitchen. The olives help thicken the sauce and flavor the duck spectacularly. The recipe, from "Paula Wolfert's World of Food" (Harper & Row: 1988), is adapted from a Minorcan specialty that uses olives from that island. Wolfert suggests Nafplion or any light, small, firm cracked green olive with some character. The only olive she doesn't advise is the Spanish Manzanilla.

1 1/4 cups finely chopped onions

1 head garlic, roasted, halved crosswise

1 large stalk celery, chopped

2 bay leaves, crumbled

2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 vanilla bean, chopped

1 (5-pound) duckling, fresh or thawed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped, peeled, seeded tomatoes

3 tablespoons dry Marsala, Sherry or Madeira

1/2 cup dry white wine

4 cloves

8 large shallots

1 1/2 cups small light-green cracked olives

Combine onions, garlic, celery, bay leaves, parsley, salt, paprika, white pepper and vanilla bean. Mix well.

Empty cavity of duck. Reserve giblets for another use. Cut off wings at second joint. Roughly chop wings and neck. Set aside.

Remove loose fat from cavity, neck and tail. Cut out fat under wings. Rinse duck and pat dry.

Stuff duck with onion mixture and sew up opening. Truss duck to keep shape. Refrigerate uncovered until 1 hour before cooking.

With tines of fork pierce duck skin every inch. With small paring knife, make deep slits in thick, fatty areas. Place duck in large skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and brown all over. Transfer, breast-side-up, to 5- to 6-quart casserole, either earthenware or enameled cast iron.

Brown wings and neck bones in skillet. Then add to casserole. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet, raise heat and add tomatoes. Mash tomatoes and saute until lightly scorched (to enhance flavor and sweetness). Scrape tomatoes and brown bits into casserole. Quickly deglaze skillet with Marsala and white wine. Add to casserole. Add cloves and shallots.

Cover casserole with circle of parchment paper or foil and tight-fitting lid. (Or earthenware dish filled with cold water that fits snugly over casserole.) Cook over low heat 2 1/4 hours, or about 25 minutes per pound of stuffed duck. Do not raise temperature. Let duck stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, strain cooking juices, pressing duck gently to extract juices. Skim off fat. Then reduce juices to 1 cup in saucepan over medium heat. Cut duck into quarters. Discard backbone, wings and stuffing. Set in cool place. Cover pan juices. Blanch and pit olives. Duck can be made several hours hours ahead of time to this point.

In saucepan, combine juices and olives. Bring to boil. Simmer to blend flavors and thicken sauce. Adjust seasonings to taste. Cover and keep warm. Rub duck skin with remaining olive oil or rendered duck fat. Place duck under broiler to reheat thoroughly and crisp skin. Place duck in warmed serving dish. Pour sauce over. Serve at once.

Makes 4 servings

Note: Olives need to be blanched once to remove saltiness from brine. Cover olives with water, bring to boil. Boil 30 seconds. Drain, cool and pit, if desired.Each serving contains about:1,426 calories; 1082 mg sodium; 233 mg cholesterol; 132 grams fat; 11 grams carbohydrates; 37 grams protein; 1.22 grams fiber.

A Culinary SOS reader wanted to recreate the chocolate creme brulee he ate at Pinot in Studio City. We asked chef-owner Joachim Splichal for the recipe and got one of the best desserts we've ever eaten. CHOCOLATE CREME BRULEE1 quart whipping cream2 cups milk1 cup granulated sugar1 vanilla bean10 egg yolks9 ounces fine-quality dark sweet chocolate (such as Valhrona Majari), meltedRaw sugarCombine cream, milk, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla bean in saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Mix yolks (save egg white for another use) with remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Add 1/2 cup milk mixture to egg mixture to temper. Then pour egg mixture into remaining milk mixture and stir. Add melted chocolate and stir to mix. Strain.Pour into 8 (1-cup) ramekins. Place ramekins in another pan filled halfway with water and bake at 275 degrees 45 minutes.Refrigerate until set. Sprinkle with raw sugar. Place ramekins under broiler until sugar melts. Makes 8 servings.Each serving contains about:667 calories; 137 mg sodium; 510 mg cholesterol; 54 grams fat; 39 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams protein; 0 fiber.*One of our low-fat desserts from summer, this blueberry pie is absolutely irresistible and extraordinarily fresh-tasting. The recipe comes from writer Kathie Jenkins' mother, Ardell Kochevar of Aurora, Minn. If you like to experiment, try other fresh fruits in season, such as raspberries or peaches. JUNE BLUEBERRY PIE3 cups blueberriesWaterJuice 1 lemon3/4 cup sugar3 tablespoons cornstarch1 (9-inch) Low-Fat Pastry Crust, bakedNon-fat non-dairy whipped topping, optionalBlueberries, optionalMint leavesRinse blueberries and drain. Set aside few blueberries for garnish.Add 1 cup berries, 2 tablespoons water, lemon juice and sugar into medium saucepan. Heat to boiling. Heat and stir 3 minutes. Blend together cornstarch and 3 tablespoons water until smooth. Stir into blueberries.Bring to boil. Heat and stir until thickened and clear. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining blueberries. Turn into cooled baked pie shell. Chill until set. Pipe with non-fat, non-dairy whipped topping. Garnish with blueberries and mint leaves. Makes 8 servings.Each serving contains about:216 calories; 181 mg sodium; 12 mg cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 43 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 0.74 gram fiber.*Low-Fat Pastry Crust1 cup cake flour2 tablespoons sugar1/2 teaspoon salt1/8 teaspoon baking powder3 tablespoons butter, cut up2 tablespoon thawed nonfat egg substitute (equivalent to 1/2 egg)1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons water1/4 teaspoon vanillaIn bowl combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in butter until size of small peas. Combine egg substitute, water and vanilla. Stir into flour mixture with fork. Gather dough into small flattened round.Chill dough for ease in handling. Roll out on lightly floured board to fit 9-inch pie plate. Gently pierce bottom and sides with fork. Bake at 375 degrees 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to wire rack to cool. Makes 1 (9-inch) pie shell.*Ana Oviedo, one of this year's Great Home Cooks, simmers Salvadoran chorizos (shorter and plumper than the most common Mexican style, they're available in Latino markets) in a clay pot with tomatoes, onions, chiles and a dash of oregano. She serves them with Salvadoran-style beans, a blend of red and black beans that produces a color closer to those eaten in El Salvador. CHORIZOS ENTOMATADOS18 (2-inch) Salvadoran chorizos1/2 cup water1 onion, cut into thin slices4 serrano chiles, quartered lengthwise, seeded2 large tomatoes2 teaspoons oregano1 teaspoon saltSalvadoran-Style Frijoles, optionalPlace chorizos in single layer in skillet. Add water. Boil, uncovered, until water cooks away. Cook chorizos in drippings remaining in skillet until browned on each side. Add onion and chiles.Break apart tomatoes with fingers and add to skillet. Crumble oregano into pan. Add salt and stir. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, or until onion is tender and tomatoes have cooked down to sauce. Serve with Salvadoran-Style Frijoles. Makes 4 to 6 servings.Each serving contains about:500 calories; 1,849 mg sodium; 89 mg cholesterol; 39 grams fat; 11 grams carbohydrates; 26 grams protein; 1.33 grams fiber.*Salvadoran-Style Frijoles1 onion1 cup dried black beans1 cup dried red beans15 cups water3 cloves garlic1 tablespoon salt9 tablespoons oilSlice onion into 2 pieces. Reserve 1 piece for refrying beans next day. Cut remaining piece in halves.Rinse black and red beans. Place in large clay pot or soup pot. Add 6 cups water and bring to boil. Reduce heat, add 2 onion quarters and garlic and simmer 2 hours or until tender. Stir beans occasionally so those on bottom do not burn. Add remaining water in stages as needed. When beans are done (tender enough to eat), remove from heat, cool and refrigerate in pot overnight.Next day, remove beans and wash pot. Cut reserved 1/2 onion into 2 pieces. Reserve 1 piece for another use. Slice remaining piece into strips and separate. Heat oil in pot. Add onion strips and cook until well browned. Remove onion and discard, leaving oil. Add beans and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes 6 to 8 servings.Each serving contains about:402 calories; 1,190 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 22 grams fat; 41 gramscarbohydrates; 15 grams protein; 3.76 grams fiber.*Pipatpong Israsena, one of this year's Great Home Cooks, learned to cook from his father in Bangkok. And, judging by his recipes, he eats pretty well. For mieng kwayteow, he cuts a sheet of fresh rice noodles into strips and piles them on a plate. Another plate holds thinly sliced pork tenderloin, and small bowls contain roasted peanuts, dried shrimp and a bold sauce that is sweet, hot and loaded with garlic. A little bit of each of these ingredients goes into the center of a large leaf of super-fresh lettuce along with a little mint, red-stemmed basil and bean sprouts. Bite into the bundle and you'll experience a wonderful accumulation of flavors.MIENG KWAYTEOW1 (2- to 3-pound) pork tenderloin2 tablespoons palm sugar1 tablespoon granulated sugar2 tablespoons fish sauce2 tablespoons lime juice4 to 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped 5 tiny Thai chiles, chopped1 (16-ounce) package uncut fresh rice noodlesLettuce leaves, such as romaine or other leafy lettuceBean sproutsRed-stemmed basil sprigsMint sprigs1/2 cup roasted peanuts1/2 cup dried shrimpPlace pork in large saucepan or Dutch oven. Cover with water. Simmer until fully cooked, about 30 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.Combine sugars, fish sauce and lime juice in small saucepan. Boil until sugars are dissolved. Cool. Add garlic and chiles. Turn into sauce dish.Cut rice noodles into 3x1 1/2-inch rectangles and place on serving plate. Arrange lettuce, bean sprouts, basil and mint on large platter. Place peanuts and shrimp in separate bowls.To eat, tear large lettuce leaf into smaller pieces. Top with 1 noodle rectangle, opened flat. Place few peanuts, couple shrimp and slice pork on top of noodle. Add spoonful sauce. Top with bean sprouts and herbs. Fold lettuce into bundle and eat. Makes 8 servings.Each serving contains about:384 calories; 218 mg sodium; 55 mg cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 57 grams carbohydrates; 24 grams protein; 0.73gram fiber.*In our summer barbecue issue, we called this recipe the ultimate home-made rib. Because the ribs start off with a rub and a slow bake, the meat does not shrink from the bone. What you get are crisp, chewy and satisfyingly spicy ribs. If you like a saucier rib, you can simply brush the ribs with your favorite barbecue sauce just before you serve them. This recipe is from "The Thrill of the Grill," by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby (Morrow: 1990). BARBECUE RIBS, MISSOURI-STYLESaltSugar2 tablespoons ground cuminFreshly ground black pepper2 tablespoons chili powder4 tablespoons paprika2 (3 pounds each) full racks pork spareribs1 3/4 cups white vinegar2 tablespoons hot pepper sauceCombine 2 tablespoons salt, 4 tablespoons sugar, cumin, 2 tablespoons pepper, chili powder and paprika in bowl and stir well. Rub dry rub mixture over ribs.Place ribs on baking sheets and bake at 180 degrees 3 hours.Remove ribs from oven. (Ribs can be done up to 2 days ahead to this point and then refrigerated.)Over very low charcoal fire, with rack set as high as possible, grill ribs until light crust forms on outside, up to 30 minutes per side. Turn ribs over and repeat.Combine vinegar, hot pepper sauce, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon pepper and baste ribs with mixture just before removing from grill. (If "dry" ribs are desired, sauce can be served on side.) Makes 6 servings.Each serving contains about:769 calories; 3,787 mg sodium; 186 mg cholesterol; 58 grams fat; 21 grams carbohydrates; 42 grams protein; 1.65 grams fiber.*From northeast Thailand, yums are hearty, volcanic salads of meat or seafood in a bracing, herb-laced chile-lime dressing. They're served at room temperature with drinks and, unlike most savory Thai dishes, they're not eaten with rice. This yum ("yum neua yahng nahm toke" in Thai), from Nancy McDermott's "Real Thai: The Best of Thailand's Regional Cooking" (Chronicle Books: 1992), includes the crunch of roasted rice powder, a rustic, northeastern Thai trademark added for its texture and fragrance. Traditionally, rice powder is made with sticky rice, the "daily bread" of Laos and northeastern Thailand, but any type of raw rice can be used. ISAAN-STYLE GRILLED BEEF SALAD1 (1 pound) rib-eye or flank steak, grilled rare1/3 cup chicken stockSeveral lettuce leaves2 small cucumbers, peeled and sliced crosswise into ovals5 cherry tomatoes, halved1 bunch fresh mint3 green onions, thinly sliced crosswise1/4 cup finely chopped shallots1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped2 tablespoons Roasted Rice Powder1 teaspoon coarsely ground dried red chile1 teaspoon sugar1/4 cup fish sauce1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juiceThinly slice beef crosswise into 2-inch-long strips and set aside.Bring chicken stock to gentle boil in small saucepan over medium heat. Add sliced beef and turn occasionally, moistening and warming steak in stock, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.Prepare small serving platter with lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and few sprigs mint, then set aside.Add green onions, shallots, cilantro, roasted rice powder, chile, sugar, fish sauce and lime juice to saucepan. Toss well. Taste dressing, and adjust to taste with additional fish sauce, lime juice, sugar or chiles.Transfer beef to serving platter using slotted spoon. Mount on lettuce leaves. Drizzle with additional dressing. Garnish with cucumber, tomatoes and mint. Serve at once, warm or at room temperature. Makes 4 to 6 servings.Each of 4 servings contains about:187 calories; 806 mg sodium; 43 mg cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 12 grams carbohydrates; 20 grams protein; 0.66 gram fiber.*Roasted Rice Powder1/4 cup raw glutinous rice or other raw ricePlace rice in small skillet over high heat and dry-fry until grains are wheaty golden brown. Shake pan back and forth frequently to turn grains and brown evenly, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.When rice is cool, transfer to jar, seal tightly and keep at room temperature until needed. To use in recipes, transfer roasted rice to heavy mortar and pestle and pound to coarse powder, or grind in coffee or spice grinder. Ideal texture is midway between sand and powder, with discernible crunch. Makes about 1/4 cup.*Another good recipe from our regional Thai food issue--and another from Nancie McDermott's cookbook, "Real Thai." The dish's flavoring paste, or "pesto," of garlic, cilantro root and peppercorns--without the latecomer chile--gives it away as a survivor from the old central Thai palace cuisine. SAVORY MINCED PORK ON PINEAPPLE (Mah Haw)1 teaspoon oil3 tablespoons Cilantro Pesto1/2 pound coarsely ground pork2 tablespoons fish sauce2 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar, packed3 tablespoons finely chopped dry roasted peanuts1 small to medium pineapple2 fresh red chee fah chiles, cut into long, thin strips, or 6 long, thin sweet red pepper strips1 bunch small cilantro leavesHeat wok or medium skillet over medium heat. Add oil and swirl to coat surface. When oil is hot, add Cilantro Pesto. Stir-fry paste until quite fragrant, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and crumble in ground pork. Stir-fry pork until it breaks into small lumps, renders some fat and is no longer pink, about 2 minutes.Add fish sauce and palm sugar and continue cooking, stirring and scraping often to brown and coat meat evenly. After about 4 minutes, when meat is browned, remove pan from heat and taste sauce for salty-sweet balance. Add more fish sauce and palm sugar if needed and return to heat to reduce. Remove from heat, transfer to medium bowl and let cool to room temperature. Peel pineapple and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Remove hard core from center of each slice and cut slices into 1-inch squares. There should be about 2 cups of squares.To serve, mound spoonful of savory pork onto each pineapple square. Garnish each mound with chile strips and cilantro leaves. Transfer to platter and serve at room temperature as finger food. Makes 10 to 12 servings.Each of 10 servings contains about:106 calories; 150 mg sodium; 12 mg cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 15 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0.82 gram fiber.Cilantro Pesto1 teaspoon whole white or black peppercorns2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro roots or leaves and stems2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlicIn mortar, small blender or food processor, combine pepper, cilantro roots and garlic and work into fairly smooth paste. If using blender or food processor, adding some oil or water may ease grinding. Makes 1/4 cup.*Some of the best flavors of the cooking of New Mexico show up in this stew. The green chile melts into a smooth, fiery sauce, sweetened by carrots and bolstered by potatoes. For a more intense lamb taste, deeply brown lamb bones and trimmings in a bit of oil, then add chicken stock. Let it simmer for a half-hour for a richer-flavored stew.GREEN CHILE-LAMB STEW1 pound boneless lamb, preferably shoulder, cut in cubesFlourBacon drippings or vegetable oil, or combination1 large onion, sliced3 cloves garlic, smashed1 cup peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes, about 2 large tomatoes1 cup roasted, peeled, chopped green chiles, or to taste12 baby potatoes, halved, about 1 pound2 large carrots, peeled and sliced1 1/2 cups beef brothSaltFreshly ground pepperDredge lamb lightly in flour and shake to remove excess. Heat 2 tablespoons bacon drippings over medium-high heat in heavy-bottomed skillet. Add meat and brown, being careful not to crowd pan. This may be done in more than 1 batch and may take additional bacon drippings. When meat is thoroughly browned on all sides, remove to plate and set aside.When all meat is browned, reduce heat to low and add another tablespoon of bacon drippings to skillet. Add onion and stir to coat. Cook, covered, over low heat until onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, cover, and continue cooking until onion is lightly browned and very tender.Add tomatoes and chiles to onion mixture and stir to combine. Add potatoes and carrots. Return meat to pan and add enough beef broth to barely cover meat. Cover and bake at 300 degrees until lamb is tender and vegetables are cooked through, about 1 hour, depending on size of lamb cubes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.Each serving contains about:234 calories; 319 mg sodium; 37 mg cholesterol; 11 grams fat; 20 grams carbohydrates; 14 grams protein; 0.90 gram fiber.*When Gundel's, Hungary's greatest restaurant--it opened in 1910, lasted through two world wars and even survived (barely) under Communism, shuttered less than 10 years--reopened in May of 1992, it reminded the world how elegant Hungarian food could be. This tycoon's gulyas, for instance, is a sophisticated rendering of the humble dish most of us call Hungarian goulash. It's called a "tycoon's" dish because it uses an expensive cut of meat, lightly cooked, instead of a cheaper cut, which would simmer in the sauce for hours. TYCOON'S GULYAS (Magnas Gulyas)1 3/4 cups minced onions2 cloves garlic, minced1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons oil1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika1/2 teaspoon caraway seedsSaltFreshly ground pepper1 veal bone, cracked in half3 cups water3 small green pepppers, seeded and thinly sliced3 tomatoes, peeled and slicedHot Hungarian paprika2 pounds beef tenderloin, cut into cubesIn medium saucepan, saute onions and garlic in 1/3 cup oil over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in sweet paprika, caraway seeds and salt and pepper to taste. Add veal bone and water and reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.Remove and discard veal bone. Add green peppers, tomatoes and hot paprika to taste to saucepan. Stir and simmer 20 minutes. If sauce is too thin at this point (doesn't coat back of spoon lightly), raise heat to medium-high to reduce to proper consistency. Adjust seasonings to taste. (Sauce may be made ahead to this point and reheated gently just before serving.)Just before serving, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat in large heavy skillet. Add meat and cook quickly, stirring constantly until outside of meat is browned and inside is rare. (Can do in batches in order not to crowd pan.) Remove meat with slotted spoon onto serving dish and pour heated sauce over meat. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.Each serving contains about:302 calories; 89 mg sodium; 53 mg cholesterol; 22 grams fat; 8 grams carbohydrates; 19 grams protein; 0.83 gram fiber. PHOTO: The June blueberry pie is sweet and, well, low.PHOTO: Mah haw--pork meets pineapple in a new way.PHOTO: COLOR, (cover) Thai Savory Minced Pork: Palace SurvivorPHOTO: COLOR, (cover) June Blueberry Pie: Sweet and Low-FatPHOTOGRAPHER: JIM MENDENHALL / Los Angeles TimesPHOTO: New Mexico lamb stew: The chile melts, the carrot sweetensPHOTO: Minorcan-style duck with green olives, thick and luscious.PHOTO: COLOR, (cover) Minorcan-Style Duck With Green Olives: Tender and LeanPHOTO: COLOR, (cover) Green Chile-Lamb Stew: Rich and FieryPHOTOGRAPHER: RANDY LEFFINGWELL / Los Angeles TimesPHOTO: Chocolate creme brulee: Worth a 10-mile trip any day.PHOTO: COLOR, (cover) Chorizos Entomatados: Breakfast Warm UpPHOTOGRAPHER: PATRICK DOWNS / Los Angeles TimesPHOTO: Baby back ribs: The secret lies in simmering meat ahead of time.PHOTO: COLOR, (cover) Barbecue Ribs, Missouri Style: Home RubPHOTOGRAPHER: ANACLETO RAPPING / Los Angeles TimesPHOTO: Grilled beef salad from northern Thailand, hot and crunchy.PHOTO: COLOR, (cover) Isaan-Style Grilled Beef Salad: Red-Hot MeatPHOTOGRAPHER: CON KEYES / Los Angeles TimesPHOTO: Pipatpong Israsena prepares a Thai palace dish.PHOTOGRAPHER: VINCE COMPAGNONE / Los Angeles TimesPHOTO: COLOR, (cover) Chocolate Creme Brulee: Sugar DreamPHOTOGRAPHER: BOB CAREY / Los Angeles Times May not be reproduced or retransmitted without permission© Copyright 1993 Los Angeles Times

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