My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Hahn, once gave us a list of steps with the instructions to read through the entire list, then follow the steps as directed. I, along with most of the rest of the class, started working through each step, completing each on as we made our way down the list. It wasn’t until we got to the last step that we figured out how the smartest girl in class finished so quickly. The final step read: “Ignore the previous steps and a turn your paper over when done.”
I was reminded of that little lesson in following directions when I looked over the results of the “What Is This?” contest I posted last week. While there were 42 Wild Chef readers who correctly answered that the item in question was a duck press, only 17 of you went to explain why a wild chef would use one—as was directed in the contest. From those, I used random.org to pick the winning number, which was Steve Bowman. Nice work, Steve, in both identifying the duck press and following directions. Please send your contact info to email@example.com and we’ll get your Char-Broil Instant Read Digital Thermometer in the mail to you.
As for the duck press itself, it is a wonderful tool designed by the French to make canard à la rouennaise, translated as “duck in blood sauce.” For a short explanation of the process, I’ll defer to the fine folks at D’artagnan and their brief history of the duck press:
The increasing pressure of the crank plate compacts the bird until its bones are pulverized, the organs liquified, and the carcass blood juices out of the animal, all of which sluice through a small spout in the duck press and are collected in a pan, then strained through a fine chinois. The chef then thickens the mixture with the pureed duck liver, adds Cognac and red wine, and reduces it carefully until it achieves a deep burgundy, almost black color. Diners are then treated to thin slices of the duck breast in the exquisite blood sauce, followed by a second course of roasted duck legs and thighs.
I don’t know about you, but I think that sounds delicious.