From the dining room on the Celebrity Constellation, I can watch the shoreline as the ship threads its way out from Stockholm, Sweden, bound for Helsinki, Finland. Our course transits a labyrinth of islands and channels, and practically through the front yards of some waterfront homes. As we sail farther away from Stockholm, the houses grow fewer and fewer, but the constant parade of tree-covered islands continues.
The passing spectacle adds to the dinner. I have learned to try a number of the evening’s appetizers and the waiter has learned to bring tasting-sized portions. I chose the marinated bell pepper and Portobello mushroom terrine paired with five spice crusted ahi tuna carpaccio. I enjoyed the terrine’s flavor, but the tuna was a standout, served with sesame-ginger Asian slaw and wonton crisps.
I considered trying the Cajun style seafood gumbo, but continued the Asian theme with a salad of Napa cabbage, toasted pinenuts, pineapple, and crisp fried rice noodles. Selecting an entrée required some thought. The menu included sesame crusted tuna, duck, lamb chops, and several other choices. I found the duck—served as canard a l’orange—nearly perfect. The crisp skin covered a thin but unapologetic layer of fat that kept the meat moist.
Dessert was a Frosty Ice “Bombe”, white and dark chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis and a scoop of the galley’s raspberry sorbet. As we finish our dinner, the Constellation passes the last of the many islands lining the channel out from Stockholm.
Courtesy of Constellation’s Executive Chef Olivier Trividic
4 duck legs with thighs
4 ounces shallots, peeled and sliced
8 ounces garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 ounce whole black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 tablespoon ground allspice
1/4 tablespoon ground anise
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tablespoon thyme
1/4 tablespoon rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 pound rendered duck fat
1 ounce Kosher salt
Mix the legs with the spices and herbs in an oven-proof bowl; sprinkle the Kosher salt over all sides of the legs. Add shallots and garlic, pack tight, and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 36 hours.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Drain the liquid from the legs and pat the legs, shallots, garlic, and bowl dry. Return all ingredients to the bowl and cover with duck fat. Bake untiul the meat alls off of the bone, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Let the meat cool in the fat, then separate meat from bone and skin. Strain off the fat through a cheesecloth and save for future recipes.
For more recipes and more of Reed Hellman’s signature culinary adventures, visit my Website at www.reedhellmanwordsmith.com. You can follow my monthly columns in Recreation News and read my feature articles in Business Monthly and Annapolis Lifestyle.