Recipes Inspired by the Mothers of Celebrity Chefs and
Coriander Breast of Duck with
Roast Parsnip and Sweet Potato Sauce
By Chef Michel Nischan (more info)
"While I thank my mother for all she's given me,
I thank her most for the gift of love not just for me, but
for all living things. She has a deep respect for the land
and its produce. From soil to seed, plant to fruit, and finally
consumption, my mother has a profound understanding of the
seamless cycle of life and the need to protect it. One of
the greatest sins, in her mind, is to destroy food by careless
handling or "lazy cooking", which is why she taught me not
to cook unless you are happy. She would say,'If you're not
happy when you cook, the food will suffer and so will the
people eating it.' She also believes that the food has to
be happy too. These simple truths add up to a very high culinary
standard a standard that I live by today.
Serves 6 - 8 people
- 5 each large sweet potatoes
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped Thai chili
- 2 tablespoons toasted coriander seeds, crushed
- 4 each skinless, boneless duck breasts, approximately
5 to 7 ounces each
- 2 each medium skin-on parsnips poached for 15 minutes
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 each sprigs baby pea shoots
1). Cut each potato into 6 long wedges. Save 4 wedges. Juice
the remaining wedges in an electric vegetable juicer, and pour
the juice through a fine mesh strainer. This will yield approximately
2). Allow the juice to stand for 2 hours. A layer of white
starch will form at the bottom of the juice. Pour the juice
off the starch into a medium saucepot.
3). Place over a medium flame and reduce to one cup, or
until the sauce naturally thickens. Remove from the fire and
stir in the ginger and Thai chili pepper.
4). Stir until the sauce tastes spicy enough and strain
5). Split each poached parsnip in half lengthwise and rub
with a small amount of grapeseed oil. Rub the 4 reserved sweet
potato wedges with grapeseed oil. Season the parsnip and potato
with salt and pepper.
6). Bake on a cookie sheet in a pre-heated 400 degree oven
until browned and cooked through (approximately 15 minutes).
Heat a large sauté pan over a medium heat. Season each
duck breast with salt and pepper.
7). Press one side of the duck breast into the coriander
seeds. Wipe the sauté pan with a towel that has been
dipped into grapeseed oil. Add the duck breasts, seed side
down. Sauté until the coriander browns.
8). Turn the duck breasts over and transfer the pan to a
375 degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the breasts and
allow them to rest 2 to 4 minutes.
9). Set a piece of parsnip and wedge of sweet potato on
each plate. Slice each duck breast into 1/4 inch slices and
arrange against the vegetables. Spoon sauce onto each plate
and garnish with pea shoots.
Michel Nischan was Corporate Consulting Chef for Steelhead Grill
in Pittsburgh, The Brant Point Grill in Nantucket and Blue Shore
in Memphis. He owned the highly acclaimed Mich Mache, where
he was named "the best chef in Connecticut" by Connecticut Magazine.
He is now the Corporate Chef of the Myriad Group as well as
the renowned executive chef of Heartbeat In W New York, 541
Lexington Ave., New York; (212) 407-2900.