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A Quesadilla For All Seasons

Written By Culinary Pen on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 | 6:46:00 PM

I've been working on cleaning out the various odds and ends in my freezer, in hope that next week's deer hunting outing fills it back up again. Earlier in the summer I had three friends over for a grilled duck breast tasting. I picked up 3 pairs of aged Magret duck breasts from D'artagnan - weighing about 1.5 lbs per side. One of them I ate myself the night before, and four I grilled up myself, each on in a different sauce. Well the last one has been sleeping peacefully in a freezer bag since them.

Last night I braised it in 2 cups of Cab Franc, along with a small amount of salt and pepper. Tonight I shredded it and mixed it with 6 diced dried figs, 1 large green apple, and a small amount of the reduced wine and duck fat. Spread out on a tortilla, dotted with a thinly sliced hot pepper, and then fished off with a scattering of shredded Etivaz cheese.

Etivaz is sort of like cave-aged Gruyere, but made by people who think cave-aged Gruyere sold out and is watered down. So this small Swiss canton started making their own raw-milk, pungent gruyere that's so amazing it was granted A.O.C. status. Its got a lot of tang and a bit of a sticky, zesty finish. And stinky cheeses are great with dark meat.

All in all, I was very pleased with this - perfect for fall, crunchy, sweet, mildly aggressive, and very filling. I do feel like the tortilla could have benefited by being a darker bread, but I think I might be able to remedy that by adding some black beans next time to up the flavor of the starch...but that's starting to sound like a burrito.

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