Cigar Aficionado

Cooking With Charlie

Hope you all have checked out my new video with Charlie Palmer at Aureole restaurant. Tough duty that, let me tell you. Being down there in the kitchen with the stoves blazing was enough to remind me just how hard kitchen work can be. On the other hand, I kept getting bowled over by the great aromas and the fantastic views as the cooks spent the afternoon hours prepping for the evening, pre-theater rush. We had a pretty narrow window to finish up the shoot, and by the end, Charlie was gently but firmly urging everyone to get a move on. I just wanted to soak it at all up.

I hope you’ve checked out the recipe. I’ve cooked it twice at home now, to rave reviews each time. I did the full menu once, preparing the endives, and then once with a spinach side dish that I like. Both times I’ve experimented with the amount of spice I’ve put on the duck. Now, I’m a fan of duck breast anyway, so for me, this is a dish sent from heaven. But this recipe with its strong Middle Eastern spice flavors really brings out a different aspect of the duck meat, and makes it truly a savory treat.

Of course, following up the duck with a cigar is still the main challenge. I like the Coronado recommendation that I made in the video, and I think Charlie’s favorites, Padróns, would also go well with the meaty quality of the duck. This is not a dish that would go well with a mild cigar. The spice and the duck fat calls out for something really robust, and that’s why I recommended the Coronado by La Flor Dominicana.

And, by the way, we glossed over the wine selection for the dish, although if you check out the Wine Spectator site, there will be a longer discussion about the wine choice—a Chateauneuf du Pape. In fact, it’s a perfect combo, the layered complexity of that wine meshing wonderfully with the spicy crust on the duck.

So, enjoy. I hope you have as much fun eating this dish as I did.