Duck Saltimbocca Ballotine

Here are some guidelines to making a beautiful ballotine of duck for under $30. I used the inspiration of one of my favorite Italian dishes, and made it with duck instead of the traditional chicken. This process will take some minor knife skills but in the end I think you and your guests will adore the results.

Cut the duck skin down the center. The skin is sturdy so don’t be afraid to pull it back and cut in the grooves between the breast, skin, and legs. Once both sides are down to the wings, flip over and use your handy cleaver, or carefully find the cut with a chefs knife.

Now, once you remove the skin you separate off the legs first, then the breast. Leaving the rest of roast off and boil for stock, or toss it. Then the next step is to remove all the meat from the bones and prep the skin to be rolled.

Now that you have your skin patted down with a paper towel. Line it completely with proscuitto on the whole side. Chiffonade up some sage and lightly dress the whole area. Then add your baby swiss to the stop of the duck meat like so.

Once you’ve rolled up this beauty, you’re going to need to crisp up both sides in a large nonstick pan. You can most certainly tie the ballotine in Butchers Twine, but Ill typically just start by cooking with the crease side down. Once you’ve achieved the right color and texture of the skin, toss it in the oven for 15-25 minutes at 375 degrees.

Let rest for at least 8 minutes once out of the oven.

Then Slice

Duck Saltimbocca Ballotine over Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Acorn Squash Puree

Any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask!

Finding a Home in Hospitality

I love interviewing. At the very least interviewing is a chance to exchange philosophy and make connections in the industry, and at its best, an opportunity to find your second home. In an industry which encourages turnover, veterans tend to take a different approach in where they will land, prioritizing teamwork and education over money. On your next interview, stage, of even first couple weeks on the job, here are three things to keep in mind to help you avoid becoming a “number”.

My Staff vs. My Team- I’ve seen it a hundred times. A bartender or line cook gets promoted, and immediately starts posting about ” Their staff”. They have waited so long to hold that clipboard that they are injected with a sense of empowerment and completely neglect the idea of servant leadership. So be weary of the interviewer whom refers to her or his team as “my staff” constantly, and hope for the ones who say, ” our team”, because thats the family you want to be a part of.

Good afternoon, Good evening, and Goodnight- One thing I learned from spending two years in the Caribbean, is the importance of respect for my neighbors and co-workers. Now that doesn’t suggest I won’t bust chops or call someone out, or be called out myself, but you better believe I am wishing them a good day first, and expect the same in return. I worked briefly for a major restaurant group in Austin, and for three weeks I walked into work and wished everyone I passed a Good Afternoon, and only about 10% of the people said it back. This suggests two things, either they hate their jobs, or truly feel themselves to be locally famous. Either way, theres always time to show respect, and it’s a great way to find out early if you are walking into a team, or just a bunch of staff.

” So, what are you doing with all of this?” – In all of my years of interviewing, only two people asked me this question. Joshua Walker & Joey Ryan, the owners of Xioa Bao Biscuit in Charleston, S.C., who happen to be two of the most respected names in the industry, sat me down and asked me how I was going to make a name for myself, asked me about my objectives and big hairy audacious goals. After listening, they proceeded to share with their goals, their journey to opening, and their philosophy toward their team taking ownership over the restaurant. To this day, turning down that job to work for a big James Beard Award restaurant, where I was literally called by number one, two, or three, remains a huge regret.

Before your interview, just remember to respect yourself first, and beware of those who won’t take the time to wish you a good day, call you by your name, or show interest in your goals. It is the only way you’ll find pleasure in your work and more importantly, the only way you’ll ever understand the true meaning of hospitality.