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dinner : duck coma

My sweetie is terrible at dropping hints, and I'm equally terrible at taking them.  So while his birthday was still months away, he clearly and repeatedly stated that his ideal birthday dinner would be Blue Ribbon Brooklyn's duck club sandwich.  The problem?  Blue Ribbon Brooklyn hasn't had that sandwich on their menu for years - he knew that, and I knew that, thus I considered the gauntlet well and truly thrown down!

The good news : The entire recipe for that delicious sandwich is widely available
The bad news : The entire recipe for that delicious sandwich is widely available

Mayonnaise from scratch, yeah I can handle that.  Bread from scratch, are you kidding meeee????

Well, I can't remember the last time I followed a recipe to the letter, and I wasn't about to start now, so let's talk shortcuts and substitutions:

  • I am not a baker, I don't enjoy baking, but I can yank a bag of bread off a market shelf like a pro! So I searched for the best store-bought raisin bread I could find.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find any that included walnuts, so I figured out another way to get them into the sandwich.
  • My very favorite way to prepare duck is this method, so I bought two duck breasts and used Alton's recipe, cutting back significantly on the salt and adjusting the cooking time to allow for the absence of bones (about 30  minutes of steaming, 7 minutes in the skillet.
  • While I was fully prepared to make mayonnaise from scratch, I came across a fancy organic version - on the next shelf over from the duck, no less.  It was meant to be!
  • I used some shredded baby kale instead of lettuce because that's what I had on hand.
  • I made a regular single-decker sandwich rather than the traditional double-decker club sandwich - less messy, and fewer calories without sacrificing taste.
Sandwich assembly - raisin toast, fancy mayonnaise, chopped walnuts (told ya I'd sneak them in somewhere), crumbled bacon, thinly sliced duck breast, shredded kale, tomato, red onion, raisin toast.  Sandwich done!  I served it up with some sauteed spinach, and fries from the burger joint on the corner. Rave reviews from the birthday boy!

Aside from the marinating time for the duck, this entire meal came together in less than 90 minutes - including the run to the burger joint, which in my opinion is a birthday miracle!

Wine note: 
What to drink with all this decadent goodness?  Gilles Chabbert Minervois la Liviniere 2010 (same grape blend and geographic region as Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape at a fraction of the price)

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