With a quack, quack here…

The day that Zoe arrived for Thanksgiving (she came in the evening) I went to a cooking class at a popular German restaurant here in Shanghai, Stiller’s Restaurant. On the menu was: Cured Salmon, Whole Roasted Duck, Apple Red Cabbage, Servietten-Knoedel, and Spiced Chocolate Parfait with Red Wine Poached Pears.

It wouldn't be China if it didn't have the head.Sadly, the head didn't get to come along for the ride

Who stole your tongue? (Duck tongue is a delicacy)

Stuffed with apples and onions the ducks are put into the oven to roast for 2 hours

Apples and cabbage that had been marinated overnight in red wine and red wine vinegar were put to cooking with some onions cooked in duck fat with Juniper berries, cloves and bay leaves for an hour

After an hour or so it looks kind of like applesauce! We added some finely grated potato to thicken

Meanwhile, we put the duck necks on to braise in a dry pan with some shallots for the au jus. The heads were discretely taken away.

In about a half an hour, they looked yummy like this. We drained off the fat and added red wine and water.

We simmered this concoction for another half hour. Then we added orange zest and juice and sugar for flavor, and salt. Tons of salt. Oh my goodness. so. much. salt. I felt a stroke coming on, right there on the spot.

The finished gravy--isn't it beautiful?

We learned how to cure salmon which was pretty easy other than chopping huge quantities of herbs. He used fresh dill, basil parsley, mint and cilantro

Next came the salt

Then the big hunk o' fish

The rest of the herbs

The spices: Star anise, sechuan pepper, black pepper, mustard seeds, and coriander seeds.

Another blizzard of salt

And a flood of honey. Into the frig for 12 hours, flip, and another 12 hours in the frig.

Time for a bath to get all the goop off. I was trying not think about all the germs in the sink when he did this.

Then it is cut into thin slices uses a fish knife, because every kitchen has one of those, right?

If you cure your own salmon, you make your own mayonaise.

This rather blurry picture is the beginning of the servietten-knoedel. The chef was making a majority of these dishes and he moved like lightening, which is why so many of these pictures are blurry-he was constantly moving things! Anyway, this is basically a very simple bread stuffing made with bacon and shallots, but with a twist!

The stuffing was rolled into a tube and encased in saran wrap

Then tightly wrapped in aluminum foil and boiled for a half an hour!

Once it was cool enough to handle, it was sliced.

Browned in butter

And finished in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

We made potato rostii which are just grated potatoes plopped into mounds in olive oil and browned on both sides

After they look like this they are finished in a 180c oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Much to my surprise, they actually weren't raw by that point!

We still had dessert to prepare. The pears were cooking in wine and orange juice, cinnamon, star anise and cloves elsewhere. Here we are whisking eggs, egg yolks and sugar over a hot water bath for about 10 minutes to basically make a custard.

After folding in chocolate, cinnamon, five spice powder and a whole lot of whipped cream, the concoction was put into these little cups for freezing.

The cured salmon and mayo with potato rostii and freshly dressed salad

The duck with the orange au jus, red cabbage and servietten-knoedel

pears poached in wine with spiced chocolate parfait

Our table service

As I said, the chef did most of the prep/demonstrating, but I still felt like I’d been cooking all day by the end of the class! I was very glad to get to sit down and partake of what was a very fine dinner.

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About DECRYPTKNIT: knitter on the loose in Shanghai

Hi, I'm Marisa Newhouse, a former pharmacist (for a brief time during the Reagan administration) who's real calling was probably anything that has to do with cooking, plants, literature and especially knitting; hence my last and favorite job, working at Woolyminded, a wonderful yarn store. But now, I have moved half a world away to Shanghai where my husband will be working. Lots of people are interested in what we will be doing here and I have always kept journals of our travels, so I thought I'd do it the modern way and keep a blog.
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