FLAVORS THAT MELD BEAUTIFULLY WITH CHARDONNAY
We recently smoked a whole duck for our Christmas dinner and found ourselves with a small container of leftover duck meat—not enough for a meal-sized portion, but just enough to serve as a flavorful topping on a rustic pizza.
As is often the case in our kitchen, we improvise and we try out new flavor combinations. This particular recipe is pure magic paired with our 2019 Lange Estate Vineyards Chardonnay. We used mascarpone for the base of the pizza along with a generous helping of fontina. Together, the two cheeses resemble a white sauce, and it’s there that we start to drift into the terrain of pairing this pie with white wine rather than red.
We then added thinly sliced Bosc pear and a drizzle of honey to amplify the lush, juicy fruit notes of our 2017 Estate Vineyard Chardonnay. Layer in caramelized sweet onions and rosemary and you’ve got a symphony.
1 12 ounce duck breast with skin on or two 5 ounce duck legs confit
8 ounces Italian sausage
1 small Walla Walla sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 pound fresh store-bought pizza dough at room temperature
Cornmeal for sprinkling
1 8 ounce tub spreadable goat cheese or mascarpone
1 cup fontina, grated
1/2 bosc pear, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
Honey, for drizzling
Red pepper flakes for a ‘lil heat, if desired
Preferably, a pizza stone or a large baking tray
If you’re working with a whole duck breast, pat it dry, then score it with a sharp knife. Place the breast skin side down in a skillet and cook over medium-high heat for around 5 -8 minutes, or until the fat begins to render and skin is crisp. Flip it, then cook in the rendered fat for another five minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Drain the duck fat from the skillet, then reheat it to medium-high. Crumble the Italian sausage into the skillet and cook until it is evenly browned, Place the sausage on a paper towel to drain the excess fat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 425°.
Pour a teaspoon of the duck fat back into the skillet, lightly salt the onions, then cook them slowly, over medium heat, stirring frequently to keep them from burning.
*If you’re working with pre-cooked duck, remove the meat from the legs and cut it into thin slices. If you’re working with a breast, cut it into thin, bite-sized slices.
While the onions are caramelizing, turn the pizza dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Press the dough into a flattened disc, then form it by stretching it, using gravity to increase its size. This step requires some patience—I tend to strive for an even thickness rather than a perfect shape. A rolling pin is an acceptable way to stretch the dough, though the results may be a bit tougher.
Once the dough is formed, sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom of the pizza stone or baking sheet to keep it from sticking. Transfer the dough to the pizza stone.
Spread a thin layer of mascarpone over the dough. Top it with the fontina, duck meat, Italian sausage, caramelized onions, pears, and rosemary.
Bake until the cheese at the center of the pie is totally melted, and the edges are golden brown, around 12 minutes.
Heat the honey in the microwave for 15-20 seconds, until it is warm enough to drizzle. Use the honey sparingly, no more than a teaspoon or so—just enough to balance the spiciness of the Italian sausage and red pepper flakes.
Slice and enjoy!