From Nick de Toldi

In the style of La Tour d’Argent’s famed “Canard au sang”.

La Tour d’Argent, is not as expensive as we usually expect, but probably remains the nicest setting in the world offering also a matching cuisine. Dishes will please all outdoormen as the two stars of the menu for decades now are a pike quenelle for starter, and a wonderful duck following.

The décor simply is an old building (1582), of the Quai de la Tournelle, on left bank of the Seine. It is called Tour d’Argent as an elevator takes you to the dining rooms. Downstairs is a museum where is kept among other curiosities the table of the Czar ! Upstairs at the dining rooms, large windows on Seine’s side, simply also, offer direct view on Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris. Either at lunch time with the luck of a bright sky and big white clouds above towers or at night when you benefit of the delicate illuminations on the ochre stones, this is an unforgettable spectacle. At moments bateaux mouches pass by on the river, flood lighting the houses on the banks of l’Ile Saint Louis and l’Ile de la Cité, with the help of a Margaux 1962, you may reach a state of emotion difficult to explain.

The pike quenelle is a complicated preparation also difficult to explain, but the duck is simpler. It is called “canard au sang” and each one bears a number. You’ll get a warrant with the number of yours. Sang means blood in French, the reason is that the farm mallard used for this preparation is not “bleeded”, like usual poultry. They just brake his neck… For this reason it is very similar to a young mallard shot at hunt. Waterfowlers should therefore observe closely how to prepare, probably the best duck in the world.

It is briskly roasted to the point “golden skin, rare meat”. Then the duck is brought to the dining room and finished in front of your eyes by the great “duck master”, le canardier !… Breasts and legs are smartly cut off with a sharp knife and the breasts are nicely sliced. The juice of the cutting matt is placed on a heated silver dish where the roasting gravy and a dram of Madeira and Brandy are already gently boiling. The next part if you want to reproduce at home will require some imagination. The carcasse, is placed in an old silver “duck press” (Where do you buy a “duck press” ? nowhere, it was built for them). It is strongly pressed and strained and all the juices and blood are collected to join the Madeira and Brandy mixture. They receive a complementary seasonning (there is a drop of lemon juice). The sauce is heated and poured very hot over the breast slices to quit the too rare aspect. Legs go back to kitchen for a additional roasting and are served after you savoured your canard au sang numéroté.