As much as I like the summer season, I admit that I’m ready for cooler weather when fall arrives. A nip in the air inspires me to give thought to hearty meals in which to integrate seasonal vegetables and citrus.
Speaking of seasonal ingredients, I am always grateful when my hunting friends present me with a few teal ducks, which in my opinion, are both tasty and tender when prepared using my father’s method. He was an avid sportsman.
A walk around my small citrus grove tells me that my satsumas, Meyer lemons and Persian limes are bearing fruit. I also noted that my neighbor has fennel plants (she always tells me to take what I need) that pairs well with tart oranges and peppery arugula that I have in my leaf lettuce bed.
Fennel + Orange Salad
Combine ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard in a large salad bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Add 2 bunches arugula (trimmed and torn into large pieces) and 2 medium fennel bulbs (cored, halved and cut into thin strips) and toss just before serving.
Arrange the supremes of 3 blood or navel oranges, and ¼ cup oil-cured slivered black olives on the salad before serving.
Makes 4 servings
Papa’s Roasted Teal
I’m a big fan of wild rice (Uncle Ben is my personal favorite) with game, but you might want to peruse the rice section at your supermarket. There are some flavored packaged rices out there that might suit your taste buds better. The gravy and vegetables in the roasting pan are fabulous to spoon over any kind of rice you choose.
Makes 8 servings
- 8 teals (oven ready)
- 4 garlic cloves, slivered
- 3 cups coarsely chopped green bell peppers
- 3 cups coarsely chopped onions
- 1 cup dry sherry
- all-purpose flour
- 8 strips thickly sliced bacon
- 1½ cups chicken broth
- 1 pound fresh white button mushrooms, wiped clean, stemmed and sliced
- 1½ pounds topinambours (Jerusalem artichokes), peeled and cut into chunks
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1. Make a slit in each breast and insert one or two slivers of garlic in each hole. Generously rub each duck inside and out with salt and cayenne. Place ducks in a deep bowl.
2. Combine bell peppers and onions in a bowl and mix. Stuff half of the mixture in duck cavities and put remaining half around ducks. Add dry sherry. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, turning ducks once or twice in the marinade.
3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove ducks from refrigerator, drain and reserve marinade. Dust ducks with flour and set aside.
4. Fry bacon in a large cast-iron pot or dutch oven over medium heat until just browned, but not crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Add ducks to pot and brown in bacon grease. Add chicken broth and cook for 10 minutes. Add reserved marinade. Lay a bacon strip over the breast of each duck. Cover and bake for about one to one and a half hours, or until ducks are tender. Baste occasionally with pan gravy and add more broth if gravy becomes dry.
5. Add mushrooms and topinambours, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the topinambours are fork tender. Let duck rest for 10 minutes before carving to serve.
Lemon-Lime Pound Cake
For dessert, a zesty, refreshing pound cake.
- 2 sticks (½ pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter and lightly flour a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan.
Using an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth. Gradually add 1½ cups of sugar and beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon and lime zests.
Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Add dry ingredients, about ½ cup at a time, to butter mixture, beating on low speed until all is blended. Spoon batter into pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the edges of the cake pulls slightly away from pan and the top springs back when touched.
Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for about five minutes. Combine remaining ½ cup sugar and lemon and lemon juice in a small nonreactive saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, for one to two minutes but do not boil. Remove from heat.
Invert pan to unmold cake over a sheet of waxed paper. While cake is still warm, brush it all over with hot citrus glaze. Let cool completely, lightly wrap in plastic wrap then in foil. Let it stand for at least one day before slicing. It will keep for one week.