Duck Day 2012: The Seven Essentials
Tradition holds that there are “seven essentials for Chinese life” and that these make for a civilized household in what is colloquially called “Open Door Seven Items”: wood, rice, oil, salt, soy/fermented sauces, vinegar, tea. (Some attribute this list to Confucius, but it is probably older.) This year’s menu incorporates many of these elements into each course, but each course has a featured essential.
It’s been several years since we did an Asian fusion meal for Duck Day, and my recent visits to that various Momofuku outlets (NYC Noodlebar and Ma Peche, Toronto Shoto) plus seeing David Chang speak last year had gotten my wheels turning. I’ve been plotting to do a “Seven Essentials” dim sum at some point, but I’ve been so busy haven’t gotten around to inviting people over or doing the test recipes I want to. Instead, we adopted the Seven Essentials theme to do this as a Seven Course meal, as follows: (menu and then picspam of the meal…)
Lapsang Souchong Soup Dumpling
Shanghai-style soup dumpling featuring a duck filling with lapsang souchong broth. (The soup is inside the dumpling.)
Wine pairing: Vouvray Petillant, Domaine Huet Brut 2007
Sashimi With Enoki
Yellowtail, salmon, and tuna sashimi served with seared enoki mushrooms in truffle oil and
traditional accompaniments: double-distilled soy sauce, gari, and fresh-grated wasabi.
Wine pairing: Sake “Wandering Poet” Rihaku Junmai Gijo
Hot & Sour Soup
Duck broth and chinkiang vinegar soup, served with quail egg and fried wonton skin
Flavored oils—lemongrass, hot pepper, garlic-saffron—served with vegetable matchstick dippers,
sprouts, and arugula.
Wine pairing: J. L. Wolf Wachenheimer Riesling 2010
Duck leg confit seasoned with Szechuan peppercorn, served with Red Spiral Slaw (red cabbage beets, red onions),
and a trio of salts.
Wine pairing (for this and the next course): Domaine Zind Humbrecht Gewurtztraminer 2011
Duck breast, tea-smoked and served Peking “sandwich” style in a steamed bun with house-made bourbon-black soy sauce, scallion, and cucumber.
“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” —Confucius
Clementine Soda with Ginger Ice and Yamomomo (Japanese miniature mountain peach)
Porcini risotto, with a poached duck egg and white truffle.
Wine Pairing: Azelia Dolcetto d’Alba Bricco Dell’Oriolo 2010
THE WASHING OF THE DISHES
To be able under all circumstances to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five things are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness. The sixth virtue is to wash the dishes of your hosts.” —Confucius
Forbidden Rice and Coconut Milk Pudding, Brulee
Milk Oolong Ice Cream
Financiers in two flavors: chocolate and green tea
Tea and Coffee