Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson talks up Ga. blueberries - New York News

Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson talks up Ga. blueberries

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ATLANTA -

Officials may want to consider changing Georgia's nickname from the Peach State to the Blueberry State. Locally-grown blueberry crops are on a record-setting pace as more and more people are adding the delicious berries to their diet.
    
Georgia Blueberry Commission ambassador and Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson with a recipe for roasted duck and blueberries!

Recipe: Pan Roasted Duck Breast with Georgia Blueberries, Frisee, Caramelized Vidalias and a Sorghum Vinaigrette (serves 4)

Ingredients
4 large duck breasts
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
1 Vidalia onion, peeled, halved and sliced thinly with the grain
1/2 tablespoon grain mustard
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon sorghum
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 cups frisee (curly endive)
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

DIRECTIONS:
Season the duck breasts with half of the salt. Score the skin with a grid pattern with a sharp paring knife. This will help render off the duck fat. Place a large pan over medium heat and add the canola oil. When the oil shimmers add the duck breasts, skin side down. Let cook for 8 minutes and then flip and cook for 3 more minutes. The breasts should be medium rare and should have rendered off most of their fat.
           
Add the onion to the duck fat still on the heat and caramelize the onions for ten minutes over medium heat, while the breasts rest. While the onions are cooking, make the vinaigrette.  Put the mustard and the sorghum in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and then add the cider vinegar. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.           

Turn the onions once or twice during their cooking. You want to develop color on them but not burn them.

Place the frisee in a bowl with the blueberries and add two tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Toss well and season.

Thinly slice the duck and arrange evenly on four plates. Top the duck with some frisee and blueberries, then the onions, and dot with a little more vinaigrette on each plate.

Pickled Georgia Blueberries
Pickling berries is something that has become more popular in the last few years but it's a great way to harness the season for later use. They marry really well with duck and pork and also lend acid balance sweetness to salads and charcuterie plates.  I find that using firm berries is key; using soft and ultra ripe ones will result in a pretty acidic mash of blue.
 
1 1/4 Georgia blueberries
1 1/2 cup of white balsamic vinegar
1 cup of water
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pieces of star anise
1 whole clove
Makes 1 quart or 2 pints

DIRECTIONS:
Pack the blueberries into the jars and set aside. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, kosher salt, star anise and clove in a non-reactive pot and bring the liquid to a boil. When the boil has been reached, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Carefully ladle the hot pickling liquid into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of head space in each. Cap with lids and bands and then process according to jar manufacturer's directions.

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