“The most sought after restaurant in South Florida, with a dazzling view of Biscayne Bay. Against the backdrop of the alluring Miami skyline, The Rusty Pelican is the perfect spot for a romantic interlude or that special occasion”
That’s what they say about the iconic landmark Miami restaurant The Rusty Pelican.
This week is going to be a bit hectic for me as I am putting the final touches to my new menu for the new restaurant that I am opening. ‘New’ isn’t really the right word to describe the Rusty Pelican as it has been around for 40 years, but is has just undergone an $8M renovation with everything brand new and that includes myself as I have left the W South Beach to take on this challenge.
We are putting together a great team and we are aiming to open the first week in December, so the next time you are in South Florida make a trip to the ‘new’ Rusty Pelican in Key Biscayne.
Which brings me to this week’s article; I was going to do something for Veterans Day which is this Friday the 11/11/11. World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France.
However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
It is very likely that Veterans Day will be remembered/observed/celebrated much more than usual on November 11th, 2011 as the entire weirdo population and the ‘tin foil hat’ brigade will be looking for ‘signs’,
Most predictions and opinions concerning 11/11/11 are based on or rooted in its mathematical uniqueness as a number.
11*11*11: There are three possible scenarios:
1. Something good happens— There is absolutely no scientific basis for this belief. There are no known logical premises for this belief. The belief that something good will happen is based solely on spiritualism, faith, and/or innate optimism. This belief is not necessarily a bad thing; we don’t know everything; the probability is not zero.
2. Nothing happens— This is the most likely scenario. Just because an unusual date number sequence occurs doesn’t mean that something extraordinary will happen. Usually it’s a non-event.
3. Something bad happens— There is absolutely no scientific basis for this belief. There are no known logical premises for this belief. The belief that something bad will happen is based solely on pessimism of reality. This belief is not necessarily false; after all, things are generally/usually a mess. The probability is not zero.
So there you go then, I was also going to write about the futility of Fall back, Spring forward, and full frontal nudity nonsense that we have to put up with twice a year. There are so many people for it and an equal amount against it that I suggest we put them forward just half an hour to appease everyone.
Why can we all just get along?
Which brings me to this week’s article; I am not going to talk about the things that I have already talked about so I will let you in on some of my pre restaurant opening rituals. I am a constant list writer. I make list twice a day for things that I have to do and numerous lists throughout the day of things that my team needs to achieve. This doesn’t necessarily make me a weirdo but it’s up there.
Obviously in my line of work the food is the most important thing so I am going to give you a sneak peek of one of the dishes I am working on, this is the actual dish I made last night. It isn’t perfect yet but hopefully it will be alright on the night.
POACHED DUCK BREAST
1 whole duck breast
½ teaspoon allspice
4-5 large Swiss chard leaves
6-10 fresh Chanterelle mushrooms
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup duck demi-glace
1 minced shallot
½ pound parsnips
¼ cup cream
Blanch the chard or cabbage leaves in a large pot of salty boiling water for 3-4 minutes.
Pull them out and plunge them into a large bowl of ice water.
Let them cool a few minutes and drain on a clean cloth towel.
Peel and chop the parsnips into large pieces.
Boil in lightly salted water. Parsnips take30-40 minutes to cook.
Make the roulade.
Trim the duck breasts of all sinew and skin and veins, and then put them between two pieces of wax paper. Gently pound the thicker end of the breast with a meat mallet until it is about the same thickness as the skinny end of the breast.
Trim the edges of the breasts to get a rectangular shape. Generously salt and pepper them, then sprinkle on the allspice.
Lay out the cabbage or chard leaves on a cutting board and remove the ribs with a sharp knife.
Pull out a piece of plastic wrap about 15-20 inches long and lay it flat on a counter.
Lay out the chard leaf flat on another part of the counter. You want pieces large enough to wrap a rolled duck breast in one layer. If your leaves are too small, overlap them. This will make rolling a little harder, but you can still do it.
Tightly roll the duck breast lengthwise into a long cylinder. Place it on the chard leaf, and then gently roll the leaf around the breast. Make sure it goes all the way around.
Pick up the roll gently and place it — seam side down — on the plastic wrap in a spot that is closer to you than the center of the wrap. Tightly roll the plastic wrap around the roulade.
To seal, twist one end of the wrap away from you until that end of the roulade is tightly sealed. Twist the opposite end of the plastic wrap toward you. Tie the ends of the wrap together over the center of the roulade. If you want, you can make these roulades several hours in advance and keep them in the fridge.
To assemble the dish, make sure your parsnips are done. Basically you cook them until soft, mash them with a fork or potato masher, run them through a ricer or food mill if you want a finer texture, then mix in 2 tablespoons butter and the cream. Taste for salt and add if needed. Keep warm on very low heat.
To poach the duck. Get a sauté pan with high sides, or a pot large enough to fit the roulades, and put enough water in to submerge them. Bring it to a bare simmer, about 190 degrees. Turn off the heat and drop the roulades in — the water will still be hot enough to poach them. Leave them in the water for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the chanterelles and sauce. Heat the demi-glace in a small pot until it steams.
Get a sauté pan hot over high heat. Add the fresh mushrooms and dry-sauté them until they release their water, stirring often. When most of the mushrooms’ water is gone, add a pinch of salt, the remaining butter and shallot and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
Add half the demi-glace and let it boil down to almost a glaze.
Remove the roulades from the poaching water and gently take off the plastic wrap. Using a sharp knife, slice them into stout cylinders.
AND FINALLY….Don't forget it's daylight savings time. You spring forward, then you fall back. It's like Charlie Sheen getting out of bed.