Happy belated Valentine's Day to all! As I mentioned last year, we usually try to plan a getaway around Valentine's Day but it never works out. Without plans or reservations, we end up making a fancy meal at home which is always better and more relaxing than we could have wanted. This year, we had the best of both worlds! We actually managed to plan a last minute weekend getaway to the Bahamas, but were home in time to cook an elaborate Asian-themed meal for Valentine's Day. On the menu was tuna tartare, wild mushroom salad, and duck pizza.
The tuna tartare was everything I dreamed taste-wise, but it looked like a pile of soy vomit, for lack of better words. Without thinking of presentation, I marinated it in dark soy sauce which completely ruined the beautiful pink hue of the raw tuna. The tuna was mixed with avocado and should have created a gorgeous pink and green tower, but alas. I learned my lesson! Tartare requires clear marinades! I'll make it again in the future and post the recipe, but this one is going into the vault.
The mushroom salad was a simple mix of shiitake and oyster mushrooms served over greens with an Asian-inspired vinaigrette. Pictured below, but no recipe is really needed.
The hoisin duck pizza was the star of our evening. I will spare you the "before" pictures, but let's just say that I didn't realize when I bought a frozen unrecognizable ball of duck from the Asian market that, when thawed, it would be Mr. Quackers in full; duck bill, webbed feet, and all. Thankfully it was at least gutted for me. I had to learn my way around a meat cleaver right quick! Since I only needed the breast for the recipe, I saved the legs for another day. The carcass (neck and all) made duck stock which is sitting in my freezer. Not sure how good it will be but I'll let you know!
Anyway, to the pizza...
Hoisin Duck Pizza
adapted from Epicurious
2 duck breasts, fat trimmed
1/2 tsp five spice powder (I didn't follow this and went overboard; bad idea)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp olive oil
pre-made whole wheat pizza dough
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 cup broccoli-rabe, blanched for 2 minutes and chopped
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
4 scallions, chopped
2 tbsp black sesame seeds (I used a mix of black and regular)
Preheat the oven to 400°. Heat oil in an oven-safe skillet on medium-high heat. Rub duck with five spice, salt, and pepper. When oil is shimmering, sear duck breasts until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven and cook for about 8 minutes, until inside is rare. Remove and set aside.
Increase the oven heat to 425° and pre-heat a pizza stone. Roll out dough into a circle with your desired thickness (I tend toward a more thin crust pizza). Drizzle with a little olive oil, then pre-cook dough for about 5 minutes in the oven. We do this so that our ingredients don't get overcooked later. Once the dough looks set but not browned, remove and add your toppings. Start by spreading 3 tbsp hoisin sauce onto the dough, then add the broccoli-rabe, cheese, bell pepper, and duck. Cook until cheese is melted and crust is browned, about 8 more minutes. Remove and top with scallions and sesame seeds. Slice and enjoy!