Valentine's Day may have come and gone but it's never too late to woo your loved one. In fact, romantic dinners at home, on a regular basis, is an important ingredient for a lasting relationship.
To that end, the News asked Justin Cheung, the newly minted executive chef at Tapenade's Bistro for a dish that would not only impress your loved one, but would be easy to make and melt in your mouth.
A tall order you might say? Not for the Steveston native, who once was former executive chef Alex Tung's sous chef.
Cheung chose roasted duck breast with sherry, grainy mustard and fig jus because as he said, "Too often we cook at home and stay within our comfort zone without attempting new dishes.
"This is a great dish for winter. Duck is poultry, but eats more like a red meat and at Tapenade Bistro we cook duck breast to medium, leaving a lovely pinkish colour to the flesh. Duck is perfect with an earthy pinot noir or perhaps a Rhone from southern France."
Cheung's cuisine is inspired by what is seasonal during the year and the whimsy of his imagination.
ROASTED DUCK BREAST
(with sherry, grainy mustard, fig jus juice)
- 4 duck breasts
- 50 ml (Â¼ cup) dried figs (quartered)
- 50 ml (Â¼ cup) sherry
- 5 ml (1 tsp) grainy mustard
- 2 ml (Â½ tsp) brown sugar
- 5 ml (1 tsp) garlic (chopped fine)
- 5 ml (1 tsp) shallots (chopped fine)
- 4 thyme sprigs (picked and minced)
- 125 ml (Â½ cup) demi glace
- 15 ml (1 T) unsalted butter
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
For the Duck:
Trim duck breasts of silver skin and excess skin. Lightly score the skin in a cross-hatch pattern. Sear in a dry medium heat pan on the skin side.
Tip fat away from pan and continue to render the skin slowly until golden and crisp. Flip duck breast over and finish cooking in 180 C (350 F) oven.
Remove when desired doneness is achieved. (For medium, approximately five to six minutes) Let rest for five minutes on a rack.
For the Sauce:
Soak figs in sherry for one hour. Gently sweat shallots, garlic and thyme. Deglaze with sherry and figs. Add mustard and brown sugar. Reduce by half. Add demi glace to pan. Reduce to desired consistency and mount with cold butter. Whisk together. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with potatoes or a light salad. Serves 4.