I’m afraid to say that I’m not a fan of duck à l’orange. To be fair, I’ve only had it once, so maybe I experienced a bad duck (or a bad orange). Whatever the case, I was left with the impression that, at some dim and distant time in the past, some deranged French person looked in their larder and thought to themselves “All I’ve got is that ratty old duck and this past-its-sell-by-date orange — I’d better do something with them before they go off,” and thus was duck à l’orange born.
Let us never forget that the dastardly French are the ones who came up with the idea of presenting you with a platter containing a tiny sliver of meat in an undefined and unremarkable sauce accompanied by two small potatoes and three artfully arranged peas — looked you square in the eyes — told you it was called “nouveau cuisine” — and bestowed you with a bill that levied four times as much as they used to charge for a real meal (not that I’m bitter, you understand).
I just FaceTimed with my dear old mom and asked her about this. As you may recall, although she is now 90 years young, my mom has a mind like a trap; in fact, her memory is so good that sometimes she remembers things that haven’t even happened yet! She says my destiny with duck à l’orange occurred when we were on holiday deep in the mists of time. I was about 10 years old and she ordered it for me while I wasn’t paying attention. It was supposed to be a special treat, but I didn’t like it and it turned out to be “a bit of a damp squib” (I felt it would be unkind of me to point out that she’d missed the opportunity to say “a bit of a dead duck”).
This reminds me of the eulogy scene from the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral when Matthew, in his tribute to Gareth, says, “… his fabulous hospitality… his strange experimental cooking… his recipe for duck à l’banana fortunately goes with him to his grave…”
The reason I’m waffling on about this here is that I recently created a thought-provoking dish. I saw it on the cover of a magazine at the supermarket checkout and was persuaded to partake. You preheat your oven to 425°F (~220°C). While the oven is warming up, you take an avocado, halve it, remove the pit (seed), and scrape out some of the flesh to leave about 1/2” remaining inside the skin (you can add lime juice to the spare flesh to make a simple guacamole spread that tastes delicious on toast). Then you place the two halves on a greased baking tray, line the inside of each half with a slice of prosciutto ham, crack an egg into each half, loosely cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. When you remove the dish from the oven, you sprinkle your “Baked Eggs in Avocado Extravaganza” with Everything Bagel seasoning, garnish with finely sliced green onion (a.k.a. spring onion) and serve.
It was horrible.
I wouldn’t recommend this recipe to anyone. I will never buy that magazine again. The only thing I can think of that might tempt my tastebuds less would be duck à l’avocado. How about you? Do you have any recipes you would care to not share?