Fresh Fig and Duck Sausage Pizza
Don't you just love it when you get such an intense idea for a kitchen creation that you can almost taste the flavors coming together? The genesis of this dish began with the huge anticipation of our precious figs ripening and how I might use them. Some of my best food ideas happen in the middle of the night, and I lied in bed through many hours of darkness putting these flavors together. As I mentally tweaked and adjusted and made additions and subtractions to the ingredient list, this I knew for certain: Pinot Noir and duck sausage would be a match made in heaven.
Pinot Noir, Figs and Shallots
I am happy to report that the birds honored the agreement we made over the figs. Last year we were gone from home a few days just as they were ripening, and the birds feasted until there was not one single fig remaining upon our return. This year I completely gave up the bird battle over blueberries, leaving every single berry to the birds in exchange for the figs. And figs came ready as they do... 467 all within a three-day window, and for the most part untouched by the birds, as I had politely asked. Use them. NOW.
The wine we chose to highlight this knock-your-socks-off pizza is a fairly knock-your-socks-off Pinot Noir. From Elkton in the Umpqua Valley, Brandborg Vineyard and Winery's 2006 Love Puppets Pinot Noir is lush and spicy, with earthy notes of dried shitake mushroom. Brandborg's dry-farming method creates a very low yield of fruit, giving this wine a lot of nice structure. Its fruit notes are that of deep dark cherry, and we all know how amazing cherry and duck are together. At $30 a bottle I wouldn't serve it with just any old pizza, but with this duck pizza it was an out-of-the-park hit.
The duck sausage came from our friend and terrific cook, Larry, who served it to us first in an wonderful cassoulet. He had extra that he shared with us. Thanks again, Larry!
We used our favorite homemade pizza crust, and used no sauce at all. On top of the pizza dough, I sprinkled about 5 oz. of shredded Panquehue cheese. Panquehue is a semi-soft creamy cow's milk cheese from Chile, and was the perfect light and mild based for the rest of the toppings. The rest of the ingredients were:
- A couple of shallots sliced about 1/4" thick
- 5 or 6 fresh figs sliced about 1/4" thick
- Two well-browned duck sausages, sliced on the bias
475 degrees and twelve minutes later we were in food heaven.
Lesson learned: When I make this pizza again (and soon, I hope) I will double the amount of shallot. It provided another high-end earthy note along with the sausage which connected to the wine so beautifully. And I wouldn't hesitate to lightly dress micro-greens with a few drops of sherry vinegar and good olive oil to pile atop each piece. This idea came as I sank my teeth into the first bite, and , imagine, I just happened to be plum out of micro-greens. Next time I'll plan ahead for that component.
We're moving on to other fig ideas, so stay tuned!