“The first bite is with the eye” is a phrase that often springs to mind when I am dining in an unfortunate restaurant. Duck gesier (gizzard) salad may look like a pile of goat droppings on a heap of rotting vegetation but it is a fast, easy and cheap dish to prepare for lunch. The bites with your mouth are also far more appealing than the first with the eye.
It is great that it is now possible to obtain tins of confit duck gizzards in this country – mine came from the online supermarket Ocado. A tin will provide enough meat for two salads for those of solid constitution or three-to-four people who find joyful excess worrying. Weirdos. Gesiers are also great to serve timid diners because, whilst they’ll think a salad sounds quite boring enough, as soon as you mention they’ll be eating gizzards the look of horror that appears on their faces is uncharitably enjoyable.
Generally, economy is the art of spending money without having any fun. However this dish has mirth-potential and yet it’ll cost less than some babyfood-in-bread-style supermarket sandwiches. Most of them are the ‘egg and cress’-type of pap eaten at lunchtime by type of people who think the government are their parents to assist their mental regression to helpless infants. They are disgusting sandwiches and lamentable people – I detest both.
The gesiers cost £4.99 per tin from Ocado, and that is a reasonably expensive brand. Salad costs pence, as long as you don’t buy it in bags from supermarkets – pre-washed, chopped and chlorine-infused for your convenience. Even if you buy it in bags, as I often do as it’d be bad for my reputation to have too much salad in the flat and it’d probably give me cancer, it’s still cheap. The dressing requires more expensive ingredients but so little of them the cost per salad is trivial. The fat the gizzards are preserved in can be kept to make wonderful roast potatoes, so it is thrifty all round. As I often have to remind people (quite why I don’t know): Elitistreview is about enjoying the best, not the most expensive. I’m happy to suggest brilliance at bargain prices.
Tip the tin of gizzards into a small frying pan and put over a low heat just to warm them through and allow you to decant off the liquefied fat. Mix up a salad dressing, as much as you need (I generally make far too much and end up eating the excess with a spoon whilst no one is looking), with the following constituents. 1 part balsamic vinegar, 3 parts decent Italian extra-virgin olive oil, 1 part melted duck fat from the pan of gesiers, a splat of strong mustard, a grind of fresh pepper and a little salt. Beat these together in a cup or small bowl with a fork, it’ll probably go somewhat thick which is quite pleasing and makes it easier to dip your finger into to test you’ve got the balance right. Pour this over a selection of leaves that are as tasty as you can manage without getting too interested in the stuff and give it a good mix. Put some dressed salad on a plate for each person and then drop as many gesiers as fairness allows on top of it. Eat whilst making guttural noises of pleasuring yourself with warm, rich, mouth-filling meat. Dead easy, eh?
A final note to readers in Blighty with access to brilliant Ocado: they are currently having a sale on goods from the same brand as these gizzards – buy two or more Reflets de France items and get money off. Naturally I bought enough tins of gesiers to ensure I’ll eat more salads in the next month than I have in the past five years, but I also got some of the Corsican pork pate pictured left. It’s slightly intestinal but I’d give it a try if I were you. It’s only money and good food makes us happy!
Happy is best!