"The Taste": Duck is good, everything is good: fruity and hearty taste explosion with Asian flair

He was considered an outsider and in the end he turned his nose at everyone: Gary Loen.

"The Taste": Duck is good, everything is good: fruity and hearty taste explosion with Asian flair

He was considered an outsider and in the end he turned his nose at everyone: Gary Loen. The florist from Amsterdam snagged the title in Season 6 of cooking show The Taste. He was supported by top chef Roland Trettl. This duck dish with plum sauce, Jerusalem artichoke puree and pear pearls was also part of the 2018 winning menu.

Servings 4 (main course)Time: 1 hour

Ingredients for the meat:

4 female duck breasts (approx. 180 g each) 1 tsp 5-spice powder 2 tbsp grapeseed oil 1 tbsp sunflower oil 12 mint leaves

For the cucumber:

100 g sugar 1 slice of ginger (1 cm) 1 kaffir lime leaf 1 stalk of lemongrass 300 ml Riesling vinegar 1 cucumber

For the sauce:

3 plums 4 tbsp brown sugar 1 tbsp butter 2 tbsp rice vinegar 2 tbsp black rice vinegar Chinkiang (alternative dark balsamic vinegar) 1 squeeze lime juice ½ tsp freshly grated ginger 2 tbsp soy sauce

For the jus:

1 onion1 tbsp sunflower oil1 slice of ginger (1 cm)50 ml red port wine50 ml Madeira200 ml chicken stock

For the puree:

400 g Jerusalem artichoke2 shallots4 white mushrooms1 tbsp butter150 ml dry white wine100 g cream100 ml vegetable stock½ tbsp crème fraîchefreshly grated nutmegsalt

For the pearls:

2 firm pears 100g nut butter, zest and juice of ½ organic lime

For the crunch:

50 g peanut kernels2 shallots400 ml sunflower oil

Also: vacuum bags, vacuum sealers, sous-vide cookers, pearl cutters

1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C top/bottom heat. Carefully remove the skin from the duck breasts and remove the fat and tendons from the meat. Set the sections aside. Mix 5 spice powder and grapeseed oil. Rub the meat well with it, seal it tightly with the spice oil in a vacuum bag and cook in a water bath at 56 °C for 30 minutes. Spread the duck skin on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake in the hot oven for about 30 minutes until crisp, turning halfway through. For the crunch, cook the peanuts in the hot oven for 10 minutes.

2. For the cucumber, boil the sugar with 100ml water, peeled ginger, kaffir lime leaf and washed lemongrass. When the sugar is completely dissolved, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Wash the cucumber, peel and cut the flesh lengthways around the seeds into 3 mm thick strips. Marinate the strips in the vinegar stock until ready to serve. Meanwhile, for the sauce, wash the plums, halve, stone and cut into pieces. Lightly caramelize the sugar and butter in a saucepan. Add the plums and both vinegars and reduce over low heat for 25-30 minutes. Add some water if necessary. Remove the peanuts and crispy duck skin from the oven.

3. For the jus, peel and finely dice the onion. Heat the sunflower oil and sweat the onion cubes in it with the meat trimmings and the peeled ginger over a medium heat until translucent. Deglaze with port wine and Madeira, reduce the liquid almost completely. Pour in the stock and reduce by half. Meanwhile, for the puree, wash the Jerusalem artichokes carefully, dry them, peel them and cut them into pieces – keep the peels. Peel and finely dice the shallots. Clean the mushrooms, rub dry if necessary and chop. Heat the butter in a saucepan. Sauté the Jerusalem artichokes, shallots and mushrooms over a medium heat until translucent. Deglaze with the white wine and reduce the liquid almost completely. Pour in the cream and stock and cook the Jerusalem artichoke until soft for 15-20 minutes.

4. Peel the pears and cut out fine pearls. Heat the nut butter in a small saucepan, remove the saucepan from the heat and let the pearls soak in the warm butter. Drain the soft Jerusalem artichoke, reserving the liquid. Mix the pieces with the crème fraîche until creamy. Season with nutmeg and salt. keep warm Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and season with lime juice, ginger and soy sauce. Drain the soft pear pearls and marinate with lime zest and juice.

5. For the crunch, peel the shallots and cut into fine rings. Heat the sunflower oil in a small saucepan to 160 °C and fry the rings until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and lightly salt. Fry 1 handful of Jerusalem artichoke shells until golden brown, drain and salt. Finely chop and mix the duck skin, shallots, Jerusalem artichoke shells and peanuts. Lift the cucumber strips out of the broth, pat dry with kitchen paper and cut out small circles.

6. Remove the duck breasts from the vacuum bag and dab lightly with kitchen paper. Heat the sunflower oil in a pan and sear the meat briefly on both sides over high heat. Cut the breasts in slices. Wash the mint, shake dry and cut into fine strips. Puree the plum sauce and pass through a fine sieve. Pour the jus through a fine sieve and mix in 2 tablespoons of the plum sauce.

7. Spread a dollop of Jerusalem artichoke puree on each plate. Place the duck breast slices on top and drizzle with the plum sauce. Pour the jus all over. Scatter the cucumber and pear pearls on top, garnish with the mint and serve sprinkled with the crunch.

The anniversary season of "The Taste" is currently running every Wednesday from 8:15 p.m. on Sat.1. There are Frank Rosin, Alex Kumptner, Alexander Herrmann and the defending champion Tim Raue.

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