Vegetarians are funny. Most vegetarians I know aren't vegetarians because they don't like meat, its usually for more ethical, environmental or health reasons. They agree that meat is tasty. Because of this often times vegetarianitis is a temporary condition. How many of you, raise your hands, at one point have been vegetarians? This year alone I was a vegetarian probably eight times. My intentions are good, but bacon usually evilly lures me back to the dark side.
For some people being a vegetarian is like being in the closet. The meat is out there, and you wants it. So instead of giving up the act, you takes secretive nibbles here and there, hoping no one will find out, but everybody knows you're a carnivore at heart. Did you see how he is walking? He is totally a vegetarian.
When my "vegetarian friend," and I went to the New Amsterdam Market, the local meat offered was unbelievable. I thought I was making a joke when I asked, "Let's make duck for dinner?" His eyes widened. "Duck it is!" Then he went crazy and bought a couple of dozen mussels! Duck and mussels: maybe a weird combination, but when there is good meat for the taking you have to get it while the getting is good.
I had never made either duck or mussels before. Why? Why? Why? So easy and so delicious!
The duck man recommended a duck confit. Thats made with a duck leg that is salt cured overnight then cooked in a small pot at 250 for 3 hours in its own fat. We didn't have time to cure it, so I rubbed it down with sea salt and seasoned it with pepper, olive oil and rosemary. Thats it.
While that was cooking we worked on the mussels. After a quick rinse they were ready to go, no beards to scrub off. We sauteed shallots in olive oil, added some white wine and water, then the mussels to steam for five minutes. We topped them with fresh parsley and served them with Italian Bread and a side of melted butter (which was in my opinion unnecessary but its butter, so its good.) Meat appetizer out of the way. But this "vegetarian" was not done.
After 3 hours that duck was falling off the bone and my vegetarian friend was drooling over the exquisite aroma in the air. We ate the Duck Confit with Sauteed Bok Choy and Broccoli Rabe over Carrot Linguini.
Next time we agreed: two duck legs or maybe an entire duck. It was one of the most delicious meats I have ever prepared. And so easy. You just let the duck fat do all the work for you.
And what was also lovely is that I was left with a vat of duck fat that I can use for other things like muffins or frittatas or braising greens. Ducks go a long way. And they are a great way to lure a vegetarian over to the dark side.
I know I am a meanie but to be fair, this local "good meat less" lifestyle, which I 100% support and try to live by myself, makes a lot of healthy sense. Good quality, locally and healthily raised , grass fed and unprocessed or wild meat eaten seldom and never any poor quality, ammonia treated, inhumane factory raised meat EVER! If you want to find "local good meat" in your area visit, Eat Wild.