Recently we visited “Au Pied de Cochon” here in Montreal. My partner and I have been enjoying the cooking show “The Wild Chef”. The show and aforementioned restaurant is hosted and owned in that order by master chef Martin Picard and his sous-chef Hugue Dufour.
I knew before we even arrived at Au Pied de Cochon that I would be dining on his now famous “Duck in a can”. The entire idea had me very curious – therefore I passed up on some known favs of mine like the amazing looking bison rib on the menu. I was not disappointed.
What’s in the can? Duck breast, about 100 grams of foie gras and cabbage in balsamic glaze which could be a side dish all on its own; it was amazing. Find a word beyond rich and you may get close to describing the taste of this dish. It has become famous enough for other restaurants to try and copy – right down to how it is served.
The waiter will bring to your table a plate with a large toasted piece of homemade bread, covered with a generous smear of celery root puree. In the other hand will be a can and can opener. He or she will then open the can and “dump” the contents on top of the toasted bread and puree. It will stand there for just a second and then faint all over your plate like a damsel in distress. The aroma will start your mouth to watering. Looking at it now will not make you say, “Wow, that’s so pretty”! Your taste buds however will be shocked at the blend of flavors.
I would suggest that if you plan on having this dish, do not get a rich appetizer unless you are very accustomed to such food. I found by the end of the meal that although wildly delicious, I could not have eaten another bite. The foie gras coupled with the amount of duck fat in the meal can be a lot to literally take in, but I dare say practice makes perfect. I will be back to train my body to become acclimatized to the abundance of goodness in that can.
My partner had the squab which he thoroughly enjoyed. I did have a bite and it was very nice. Why they don’t eat more squab in the U.S. is beyond me.
I do have one little complaint though. The Duck in the Can was just barely above room temperature. I would venture to guess that it would have been even better if it would have been served while still steamy hot. Keep in mind that even the best places can’t get it absolutely perfect each and every time. I look forward to a return visit.