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Like a lot of chefs these days, Dean Gold, the boss man at Dino, buys whole animals. In his case, he buys whole Pekin ducks via D’Artagnan and butchers them in-house for the breast meat and legs. Some of the leftovers are reserved for stock. The neck skin and the offal, however, Gold saves for a sausage antipasto that he calls the “Duck Beggar’s Purse.”
On the plate, the appetizer doesn’t look like much. Not to put this too bluntly, but these thick rounds look like slightly less-uniform slices of Jimmy Dean sausage, all fried up and crispy around the edges. But as soon as you take that first bite, you know you’re dealing with a product far superior to anything manufactured in corporate America.
Gold takes the neck skin and stuffs it with a small smörgåsbord of meat: various duck offal (except the liver, which imparts too strong a flavor), pork belly and shoulder, and veal breast. He’ll season that meaty mixture with orange zest, garlic, herbes de Provence, and black pepper, then add some duck fat, tie it up in the skin, and poach it in more duck fat. The resulting sausage is cooled in the fat and aged in the refrigerator for a few days.
When prepared for the plate, the sausage is removed from its fatty overcoat, sliced, and griddled, its fat rendering on the hot flattop until it creates that outer layer of crispy goodness. The final grace note is vital: These sausage rounds are then paired with a duck-stock-and-orange-juice reduction, which together provides you with this deeply satisfying sweet-and-savory combination.
It’s a rich and meaty way to start your meal at Dino. It’s also a helluva lot of work for something that looks so simple on the plate.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery