Duck skewers

Total time: 2 hours

Servings: 4

Note: From "The Soul of a New Cuisine" by Marcus Samuelsson. The pears should not be too ripe. Cooking the skewers on an outdoor grill is recommended.

Green masala

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons

olive oil, divided

1 (3-inch) piece ginger, peeled and grated

4 cloves garlic, minced

8 jalapeño chiles, seeds and ribs removed, chopped

1 teaspoon cardamom seeds

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

2 tablespoons white wine


1. In a medium sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and jalapeños and sauté until the garlic is golden, about 4 minutes. Add the cardamom, turmeric and coriander and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

2. Transfer to a blender, add the vinegar and blend well to combine. With the blender on low speed, add the remaining one-half cup of oil in a thin, steady stream, blending until well combined. (Makes 1 cup.)

Duck skewers

1/2 cup peanuts (unsalted)

1/2 cup green masala

Juice of 2 limes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 boneless duck breasts

2 Anjou pears, peeled, cored, cut into 2-inch chunks

2 medium red onions, cut into 2-inch chunks

8 scallions, upper green parts cut off, cut crosswise in half

2 red bell peppers, cored, seeds and ribs removed, cut into 2-inch squares

1. Soak 8 bamboo skewers
in water for at least 30 minutes. Toast the peanuts in a small nonstick sauté pan over medium heat until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender, add the masala, lime juice and salt, and purée until smooth.

2. Score the skin of the duck breasts in a diamond pattern. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the breasts, skin side down, and cook for 6 minutes to render the fat. Turn and cook for 2 minutes, but no longer — the meat should be rare. Remove from the pan; allow to cool slightly. Cut each breast crosswise into 4 pieces.

3. Thread the duck, pears, onions, scallions and red peppers alternately onto the skewers, using two pieces of duck per skewer. Pour the peanut mixture into a wide shallow pan or baking dish. Add skewers and turn to coat. Marinate for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.

4. Prepare a medium grill fire. If using a charcoal grill, bank the hot coals to either side. Place a drip pan beneath the cooking rack. Grill the skewers, turning frequently to avoid flare-ups and to cook evenly, until the duck is medium-rare, about 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter, tent with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve.

Each serving: 487 calories; 34 grams protein; 31 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 27 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 163 mg. cholesterol; 251 mg. sodium.