Manchego Duck Pintxos with Red Curry Cream

Source: Photo courtesy of Maple Leaf Farms
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Main Ingredient: Game, Cheese, Vegetables
Menu Part: Appetizer
Cuisine Type: Asian
Serves: 4 servings

A couple of these meatballs are enough to soothe a few hunger pangs; add a couple more for a filling mid-afternoon or early evening snack. Chef Watz flavors the recipe with Spanish ingredients, such as smoked paprika and manchego cheese, but adds red curry paste for a touch of Thai. 

Ingredients

2 lb. ground duck
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley 
1 tbsp. finely chopped garlic   
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh shallots
2 tsp. finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt      
1 tbsp. smoked paprika    
1 tsp. sugar    
1 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. ground black pepper    
1/2 tsp. cayenne 
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard      
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar    
16 oz. manchego cheese, cut into 1/2-in. dice
1/4 cup olive oil      
2 cups arugula, stemmed, washed and well dried  
1 cup Mango Salad (recipe follows)  
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup Tapas Red Curry Cream (recipe follows)
4 lime wedges     
8 sprigs cilantro

Mango Salad
16 oz. mangos, peeled, pitted, julienne sliced 
8 oz. English cucumbers, seeded, quartered and thinly sliced 
8 oz. carrots, julienne sliced   
4 oz. red onion, finely diced    
4 oz. red bell peppers, seeded and finely diced 
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro   
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice  
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime Juice    
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest    
1 tsp. finely grated lime zest    
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce    
1 tsp. kosher salt     
1 tsp. ground cumin    
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper    
1/2 tsp. ground coriander

Lightly toss all ingredients in a chilled mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Lightly toss before serving.

Tapas Red Curry Cream
2 2/3 cups sour cream      
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice   
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped  
2 tsp. hot pepper sauce     
2 tbsp. red curry paste     
1 tsp. smoked paprika    
1 tsp. ground cumin     
2 tsp. kosher salt

In med. bowl, combine all ingredients until well blended. 

Steps

  1. Prepare Meatballs: In a chilled mixing bowl, place ground duck. Add fresh herbs, garlic, shallots, lemon zest, salt, spices, mustard and balsamic vinegar; lightly combine taking care not to over mix.
  2. Portion ground duck mixture into 32 meatballs, about 1 oz. each. Make a small indentation in each meatball; insert a piece of manchego cheese. Tightly roll into a ball shape; set aside.
  3. In large, nonstick skillet, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over med. heat. In batches, place duck meatballs into skillet and sear on each side for approximately 2 min. or until nicely browned. Gently remove duck meatballs from skillet; arrange on rimmed baking sheet coated with nonstick spray. Continue to cook any remaining duck meatballs, adding additional olive oil to skillet as needed.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 F. Place meatballs in oven and bake 5 to 6 min. or until they are fully cooked and reach an internal temperature of 160 F. Remove from oven, transferring to a clean pan. Reserve in a warm area covered with foil.
  5. Prepare Mango Salad; set aside.
  6. Prepare Tapas Red Curry Cream; set aside.
  7. For service, thread 2 meatballs onto each of 24 bamboo skewers. Place 1/2 cup arugula in center of 4 serving platters; spoon 1/4 cup Mango Salad on top of arugula. Arrange 4 duck skewers around perimeter of each platter. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. crumbled goat cheese over each Mango Salad. Drizzle 2 tbsp. Spiced Red Curry Cream around perimeter of each platter. Garnish with lime wedge and 2 sprigs cilantro.