Duck Tour d'Argent Home
Probably the most spectacular
classical French recipe, le canard à la presse
, here made at La Tour d'Argent, a Paris restaurant open since the 16h century
You can't really do this at home. But the canard à la rouennaise or duck in blood sauce is an antique, spectacular, barbaric and sophisticated recipe you need to see at least once in your life.
I present it here because to me it's the most spectacular recipe of the
classical French repertoire. The reason you can't do it at home is the Presse à Canard, a duck crusher that you would pay thousands of dollars if only you could find one for sale.
I've seen only 4 presses à canard in my life. One is in the Le Divellec,
a Paris fish restaurant where President Mitterand was a regular. They
use it to make a lobster sauce very similar to the one described below.
The second Presse à Canard is in the most distinguished restaurant in
Switzerland, Philippe Rochat in Crissier. The maître d' Mr
Villeneuve explained me that the press was Mr Rochat's birthday present
from the staff. They never use it. It costs several thousand Euros and
came from France. The third and fourth presses à canard were both at
the Tour d'Argent, the oldest restaurant in France and one that
gives the most lasting impression. They have two sterling silver
presses, one is in function and the other kept as a backup if the main
press breaks. They send it to Christofle to fix it when it happens.
The recipe hereafter is the one served at La Tour d'Argent (The
Silver Tower) for about a century now. They give you a certificate for
every half duck, mine was already in the 7 figures. It is not a modern
recipe, the blood taste is quite strong and frankly, is not the best
way to serve duck. But how spectacular!
Roast a duck to medium rare. Remove the skin.
Remove the magrets, put them aside and extract the liver.
The duck is liquified in a kitchen mixer, then put on a large
metallic dish placed on a flame. The large surface will speed up the
evaporation needed to concentrate the sauce.
The duck's carcass is put in the press and crushed until the juice
from the organs runs into the dish. How bloody. They do this on a
pedestal right in the restaurant. The maitre d' agreed that I would
come up close and take these pictures for you. I guess he must be happy
to hear some French spoken from time to time.