We served this Asian-inspired appetizer with our flagship Russian River Pinot Noir during our first-ever EnRoute Salon this past February (learn more about the event here), The rains were pouring outside, but the indoor vibe was pure Beach Boys and surf boards. Placing the lettuce cups in the bamboo basket added just the right tropical touch. Since then, it's become our favorite Pinot Noir appetizer for casual gatherings and small dinner parties.
Wine Pairing: EnRoute Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, “Les Pommiers”
2 confit duck legs, deboned and cut into 1-inch x ¼-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cluster (or clam shell) of enoki mushrooms
¼ pound black trumpet mushrooms, (potential substitution: chefs’ mix mushrooms)
4 garlic cloves
4 sprigs of thyme
4 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt &freshly ground pepper
½ cup pickled rainbow carrots*
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 bunch of chives, chopped small
1 head butter lettuce
*Pickled Carrot Recipe
1/4 cup carrot, julienned
1/4 cup yellow or purple carrot
1/2 cup tarragon vinegar (potential substitutions: rice wine or champagne vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon Korean chili flake
1 teaspoon shichimi togarashi, aka Japanese seven spice
Butter Lettuce Cups with Duck Confit Salad Recipe
Using a mandolin slicer with the teeth attachment, julienne the carrots and place in a glass or metal bowl. In a small pot add the vinegar, salt, sugar, water, Korean chili flake, & shichimi togarashi. Bring to a boil then pour over carrots. When they have cooled to room temperature, they are ready to use. Chill until needed.
Wash the butter lettuce, separating the leaves. Trim the larger leaves to 2x2-inch squares and discard the tops, focusing instead on the sturdier body of the leaf. Smaller leaves can be left whole.
Once you have deboned and cut the confit duck meat into one-inch by one-quarter-inch pieces, heat a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the duck and crisp the meat. After three minutes, or when the edges begin to brown, turn the meat with a metal spatula to brown the other side, roughly three more minutes, then set aside.
Cook the mushrooms separately in a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-to-high heat, cook the mushrooms separately, adding two teaspoons of olive oil per batch. When adding the mushrooms, be sure to avoid overcrowding the pan. Season with kosher salt & fresh ground pepper, add the thyme sprig and a garlic clove and sauté for three minutes. Place the sautéed mushrooms on a plate, wipe your pan with a paper towel and continue to cook the rest of the mushrooms. Remove and discard the thyme & garlic clove.
Combine the cooked mushrooms and duck confit, then add your chives. Layer a tablespoon of the mushroom-duck mix into the individual lettuce cups. Add a layer of colorful pickled carrots and finish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Place the finished lettuce cups on a serving plate (or in festive bamboo baskets) and serve them to your guests along with a glass of EnRoute’s flagship Pinot Noir, “Les Pommiers.
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