Last weekend we celebrated my sister’s 22nd birthday. I can’t believe she is that old. Anyway, she came up from Atlanta with cookbooks and farm-fresh ingredients in tow. In a 36 hour period, we managed to pull off the following menu:
Chicken Diable, a french dish with a divine sauce of shallots, dijon mustard, wine, and cream, with an arugula salad and toasts topped with sliced heirloom tomato, drizzled olive oil, and sea salt.
Saturday (the birthday) Breakfast
Crepes with nutella and fresh berries (A Capo Family Tradition)
Peking Duck Quesadillas (I will explain below)
Homemade Pappardelle with Roast Pork Tomato Ragu and Fresh Basil, paired with Pimm’s Cups (lemonade, Pimms, garden cucumber slices and fresh basil)
Almond Tartlets with mascarpone cheese and fresh berries for dessert (with a candle for Meg!)
Exhausting? Yes. Drool-worthy? Definitely. Worth it? Absolutely. This is how we celebrate in our family, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Remember last Christmas with the Feast of Seven Fishes?
I want to call your attention to these Peking Duck Quesadillas. When we were growing up my friend worked at a restaurant called Umami. They had a wonderful fusion menu there, and the champion dish was this “quesadilla” full of shredded peking duck and topped with drizzled hoisin sauce, creme fraiche, and scallions. The harmony of the flakey crust–almost a pastry–and the sweet shredded meat makes me salivate to this day. I put “quesadilla” in quotes because it wasn’t actually a tortilla; there wasn’t really anything Mexican about the dish. But until this past weekend I couldn’t tell you what it was that housed the duck. Then, when Meg and I pondered what to have for lunch on Saturday, and I remembered the leftover restaurant Peking Duck I had in my fridge, I had a brainwave and realized that the “tortilla” of the “quesadilla” was actually a scallion pancake, a Chinese appetizer I recently learned to make. So we set to work and whipped up some pancakes, heated the duck meat and coated it in hoisin. We assembled the quesadillas and used a little greek yogurt in place of creme fraiche. I pressed each side of the quesadillas on the hot pan panini style, then sliced it into wedges and sprinkled more scallions on top. By George, we did it. And it was glorious.
Stay tuned. On Friday, I will tell you the story of the Roast Pork Ragu. Scrumptious!