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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Matt Dawson of Brandt's Cafe: Recipe for Duck Tacos

Posted By on Thu, Apr 14, 2011 at 11:00 AM

This is part three of Deborah Hyland's Chef's Choice profile of Matt Dawson of Brandt's Cafe. Part one can be found here. Part two, a Q&A with Dawson, is here.

Brandt's Cafe chef Matt Dawson prepares duck tacos. - DEBORAH HYLAND
  • Deborah Hyland
  • Brandt's Cafe chef Matt Dawson prepares duck tacos.

Appetizers are Brandt's Cafe (6525 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-727-3663) chef Matt Dawson's favorite menu category to tweak. Often his ideas come from "just sitting in a bar with friends, drinking and saying, 'How do you think this would be?'"

For example, Dawson has deconstructed jalapeño poppers, his main complaint being that they usually consist of "a big pepper with lots of breading, but all the cheese has oozed out." Instead, Dawson fries jalapeños, mixes in cream cheese, encases the whole in a wonton, which is then pan fried and served over a roasted pepper coulis. "Glorified bar food," he sums up.

For Gut Check Dawson offers his recipe for duck tacos, saying, "I love duck myself -- it should be on every menu. The easiest excuse to eat duck constantly is to have it on the menu. So I have it on our menu twice."

Duck Tacos Roast Duck Breast 1 boneless duck breast (6 oz., skin-on) 1 tsp olive oil Salt White pepper Granulated garlic

Rub duck breast with olive oil. Season with salt, white pepper and garlic to taste. In a 350-degree oven, roast the duck breast until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (about 20 to 25 minutes).

Tomatillo Salsa 1 lb. tomatillos 1 large red onion 4 oz. fresh garlic cloves, peeled 1/c cup red wine vinegar 1/2 cup water 1 tsp cayenne pepper - 1 tsp 1 handful cilantro 2 scallions Salt Black pepper

Dice tomatillos, red onion and garlic and add to a saucepan.

Add vinegar, water and cayenne and simmer for fifteen minutes or until vegetables are tender.

When cool, blend salsa until smooth.

Mince cilantro and scallions and add to salsa.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chipotle-Lime Sour Cream 1 cup sour cream 2 tsp puréed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce Juice of two limes Salt

Combine all ingredients.

Season with salt to taste.

Duck Taco: 1 roast duck breast 2 six-inch flour tortillas 2 oz. tomatillo salsa 3 oz. shredded lettuce 1 tbsp diced roma tomato 1 tbsp sliced black olives 3 oz. chipotle-lime sour cream Cilantro Lime zest

Cut duck breast into 1/8-inch-thick slices.

Toss duck and salsa in a skillet and heat thoroughly.

Place heated duck and salsa in tortillas.

Add lettuce, tomato and olives.

Fold tortillas in half and cut down the middle.

Place tacos on a plate and drizzle with chipotle-lime sour cream.

Garnish with cilantro and lime zest.

Chef Matt Dawson's duck tacos. - DEBORAH HYLAND
  • Deborah Hyland
  • Chef Matt Dawson's duck tacos.

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