UNnd so begins the party season. When I’m throwing a party, I want most of my food prepped and ready: no one comes to watch the host be a slave to the kitchen all night, Dopotutto. Allo stesso tempo, I also like to have one or two things that need a bit of last-minute attention – I enjoy the theatre and energy of it – so today’s party food suggestions reflect that balance: something savoury that can be made days in advance, something sweet that can be made weeks in advance and something to be cooked there and then and eaten in the moment. Cheers!
This is a take on rillettes, the French classic of confit meat preserved in its own fat. In this lighter version (though you could hardly go much heavier), the duck is braised in white wine before being sealed with spiced butter. This can be made up to three days in advance, but make sure you bring it back to room temperature before serving.
Prep 15 min
cucinare 2 hr 40min
Freddo 1 h+
2 duck legs (about 440g)
½ tsp whole black peppercorns
1½ tsp coriander seeds, toasted
2 fresh bay leaves
200ml dry white wine
2 shallots, peeled and halved lengthways (100g)
Flaked sea salt
10g chives, tritato
60g burro non salato
2½ tsp baharat
Heat the oven to 150C (130Ventilatore C.)/300F/gas 2. Pierce the duck skin a few times with a fork then lay the legs skin side up in a 20cm x 15cm baking dish. Scatter over the peppercorns, a teaspoon of the coriander seeds, the bay leaves, white wine, shallots and a teaspoon of flaked salt, cover the tray tightly with foil and roast for two and a half hours, until the meat is very tender and almost falling off the bone. Remove, take off the foil and set aside until the duck is cool enough to handle.
Lift out the duck legs and transfer them to a large bowl. Put a sieve over a small bowl and pour through the roasting juices. Pick out the shallots and set these aside, then discard all the other solids.
Using your hands or a couple of forks, pull the duck meat away from the bones; discard the skin and bones. Pour 100ml of the strained roasting juices into the duck meat bowl. Finely chop the reserved roast shallots, add these to the duck bowl, then mix everything until everything breaks up and is finely shredded. Stir in the chives, then divide between two 10cm-wide by 4½cm-high ramekins (or two small bowls), using the back of the spoon to compact the mixture as much as possible.
Melt the butter in a small frying pan on a medium heat and, once it’s bubbling, add the baharat and a quarter-teaspoon of flaked salt. Take off the heat, skim off any foam on the top, then divide the butter mixture equally between the two ramekins, so it completely covers the duck mix. Crush the remaining half-teaspoon of coriander seeds in a mortar and sprinkle this and a tiny pinch of flaked salt on top of the butter. Mettere in frigo per almeno un'ora, until the butter is set and the duck sealed (o durante la notte, if you want to get ahead).
About half an hour before you want to serve, take the ramekins out of the fridge, so the butter softens and is spreadable. Serve with toasted bread or crackers and cornichons.
The potatoes can be boiled ahead of time and the spiced salt can be made the day before, but when it comes to serving and eating these, as fresh out of the pan as possible is best.
Prep 15 min
cucinare 40 min
750g baby new potatoes
2 tbsp table salt
1 litre sunflower oil
5 cipolle primaverili, thinly sliced (40g)
150g creme fraiche
1 tsp lemon juice
For the spiced salt
2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
1 tsp kelp or nori flakes
1½ tsp aleppo chilli
1½ tsp paprika
1 tsp flaked sea salt
In a medium pan, bring a litre and a half of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and table salt, and boil for 20 minuti, until a knife goes through the potatoes easily. Drain, then set aside until the potatoes are cool enough to handle.
While the potatoes are cooking, make the spiced salt. Roughly grind the coriander seeds in a mortar, then add the kelp flakes, aleppo chilli, paprika and flaked sea salt, and grind two or three more times, until everything’s well mixed.
Put the spring onions in a small bowl with the creme fraiche, a teaspoon of lemon juice and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt, mix to combine, then set aside.
Once the potatoes are cool enough, press them between your hands (or on a flat work surface) until the skin breaks and the white flesh pokes out. Be as brutal as you like: all those rough edges crisp up very nicely when fried.
Put the sunflower oil in a medium saute pan set over a medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, fry a third of the potatoes for five to six minutes, turning occasionally, until deeply golden and crisp all over. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen towel and sprinkle with some of the spiced salt while they’re still hot. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.
Put the potatoes on a platter and serve hot with the spring onion creme fraiche for dipping.
The coconut and cocoa nibs are by no means traditional, but they do bring a lot to the party taste- and texture-wise. Once shaped into logs, these can be frozen for up to a month (defrost fully before slicing, shaping and baking). Once baked, the kipferl will keep for up to two weeks in an airtight container, which makes them great for gifting as well as for partying.
Prep 10 min
Freddo 30 min
cucinare 50 min
Fa Di 48
200g di farina 00
100g roasted blanched hazelnuts, finely ground
30g cocco disidratato
20g cocoa nibs, roughly crushed in a mortar
150g room-temperature unsalted butter
50g di zucchero semolato
30g di zucchero a velo
½ cucchiaino di sale
1½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1 egg yolk
100g di zucchero a velo, for dusting
Put everything bar the icing sugar in a free-standing mixer with the paddle attachment in place, and mix just until it all starts forming a dough, but is not quite fully coming together. Tip out on to a clean work surface and gently knead only once or twice, to bring the dough together. Divide into four pieces, roll each piece into a roughly 22cm-long x 2½cm-wide log, then wrap in greaseproof paper and chill for half an hour.
Riscaldare il forno a 170°C (150Ventilatore C.)/325F/gas 3 and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Cut each log into 12 equal slices, then shape each one into a small sausage that is slightly fatter in the middle and has tapered ends. Carefully bend the two ends towards each other, to make a crescent shape (if they crack, just gently squeeze them together again), then arrange on the trays (you should be able to fit 20-24 on each tray). Cuocere per 20-25 minuti, rotating the trays once halfway through, until golden.
Remove, leave to cool for five minutes, then dredge in the icing sugar, to coat – it’s important that the cookies are still warm when you do this, or they won’t get a thick enough covering of sugar (that said, if you prefer a thinner coating of sugar, wait until the kipferls are completely cool before dredging them). Leave to cool, then repeat the dredging.