This was a challenge I could not refuse: Cook a dish with offal, quinoa, spring onions, and something growing fresh right now. It’s the April edition of Paper Chef, and since I happened to have all kinds of bits and bobbles sitting around in my freezer, this is what I came up with — I call it Marsh, Mountain & Field.
Why? Because as a native of Peru, quinoa only grows well at high altitudes. The marsh is represented by the confit of duck gizzards arrayed around the quinoa, and the field is both the asparagus sauce and the seared cottontail rabbit kidneys that adorn the top of the dish. Since this is an Iron Chef-style challenge I went fancy.
- The asparagus sauce is a riff of the many green sauces I have been playing with recently. It’s blanched, shocked, pureed and cooked at the last minute with salt and duck fat. I added parsley to it for color.
- The gizzards were salted, then confited in a 200-degree oven under olive oil. I seared them hard at the end to give them a nice crust.
- The quinoa — something I have not used since my impoverished days as a graduate student — I made a la risotto (thanks Ilva!) by sauteing spring onions and spring garlic in duck fat. The liquid for the quinoa was pheasant broth I had made earlier. I topped it with more spring onions. At service, I mixed some fresh lemon juice in with the quinoa.
- Finally, the kidneys were soaked in milk for two days, peeled, salted and seared off veryÂ quickly. Where on earth did I get cottontail rabbit kidneys? Here.
How was it? Pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself…