Chef Ben Tobitt drew his earliest inspirations from his London childhood, savoring visits to Borough Street Market. He lived in public houses and restaurants, his father, a passionate chef and home cook. With the help of his father, he fostered his acute sense of fresh ingredients and local produce, still evident in his cuisine today.
After graduating from Islington & Camden Catering College in London, Tobitt launched his career at Hilton London, followed by stints at London’s The Thomas Cubitt and Wabi Restaurant. In 2003, he joined Caprice Holdings, working at Le Caprice, The Ivy London and Soho House.
His two passions, food and travel, converged in 2004, when he worked on board an American cruise liner. In April 2009, his keen travel sense led him to the Middle East as senior chef de partie for Mirai in Souk Al Bahar, Dubai. In 2010, he returned to Caprice Holdings, eventually finding his home in the kitchen of The Ivy at Jumeirah Emirates Tower — the perfect marriage of his loves for food and travel.
Duck hash with double-yolk fried egg
1 pound duck legs
Salt, to taste
½ cup onion
2∕5 cup carrots
¼ cup celery sticks
⅓ cup leeks
3¼ tablespoons vegetable oil
8½ cups chicken stock, good quality
½ cup onion, sliced into thin half moons (for the Lyonnaise)
1∕5 cup unsalted butter
2¼ cups good-quality mashing potatoes, mashed with no cream or butter
⅛ cup Pommery mustard
⅛ cup bread crumbs
Pinch chives, finely chopped
Pinch parsley, finely chopped
Pinch tarragon, finely chopped
1∕5 cup spring onion, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Well in advance, at least 2 hours before cooking, put the duck legs together in a container and season with lots of salt (about 1 teaspoon). Leave to one side for the legs to soak in the salt (this adds to the flavor of the duck legs).
Roughly chop the carrots, celery and leeks into ¾-inch square pieces. Roughly chop the ½ cup onion. Heat half the vegetable oil on a low setting in a saucepan. Add the chopped vegetables and lightly cook, with no color, adding a pinch of salt to release the flavors. After 5 minutes, add the chicken stock.
Under cold water, lightly rinse the duck legs that have been soaking in the salt and add to the stock. Bring the stock to a boil and then immediately reduce the heat to the lowest setting. The braising of the legs should take between 1 1/2 and 2 hours, until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.
While the duck is braising, begin the Lyonnaise onion process. Cook the half-moon-sliced onion and half the butter slowly in a pan until the onion has turned light golden brown (do not caramelize). Set to one side.
To the mashed potato add the Pommery mustard, bread crumbs, herbs, spring onion and Lyonnaise onions. Mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set to one side.
Once duck is cooked and cooled down, remove the meat from the bones in medium-sized pieces and add to the potato mix. If you find the mix is too wet, add more bread crumbs.
Shape the mixture into roughly 4-inch-diameter patties, each about an inch thick, and place in the fridge to set.
In a large frying pan, heat the remaining vegetable oil; remove patties from the fridge and place into the hot pan for roughly 2 minutes on each side, or until nicely colored all over. Toward the end of cooking, add the remainder of the butter to give a nice golden color.
Place on a baking tray and warm in the oven for roughly 3 minutes at 350 degrees. While this process is happening, start the eggs. Separate the yolks from four of the eggs and set aside. Crack the remaining whole eggs into separate bowls and add to each one of the yolks from the previously separated eggs, so you end up with one whole egg with a double yolk in each bowl. Pan-fry each egg to desired preference. Remove patties from the oven.
PRESENTATION: Place patties in the center of 4 warmed plates, add eggs on top. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
For the almond cream filling:
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup caster sugar
2 large eggs
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup plus 5 teaspoons ground almonds
Cream the butter and sugar together thoroughly in a mixer. Slowly add the eggs, lemon juice, flour and almonds. Mix continuously until all lumps are gone and the mix is light and fluffy. Store in refrigerator.
For the pastry base:
¾ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup caster sugar
2 large eggs
1⅞ cups flour
Mix the butter and sugar thoroughly in a large mixer on low speed. Then add the eggs slowly until thoroughly mixed. Add the flour slowly and keep mixing into a smooth paste (do not over-mix). Place in a bowl in the refrigerator for 1 hour to harden.
Once the pastry has chilled, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the chilled pastry on a floured surface until the pastry is flat and about ½ inch thick. With a round pastry cutter, cut 4 circles from the pastry. Place each disk into a pie pan (4 small ones or 1 large). The sides have to come up higher than the base and fit the pan. Place in the oven for 12–15 minutes.
For the apples:
4 apples, sliced into thin, long pieces
⅛ cup unsalted butter, melted
Pinch cinnamon powder
⅛ cup caster sugar
Spoon some almond cream filling into each baked pastry case. Arrange the slices of apple on top of the almond cream, totally covering the top. This apple acts as a lid on the pie. Brush melted butter over the whole surface of the apples, covering thoroughly and generously. Mix the cinnamon powder and caster sugar together and sprinkle over the top of each pie. Place back in the oven for 12–15 minutes and remove when the top is golden brown.
PRESENTATION: Serve on large white plates with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of each pie.
Jumeirah Emirates Tower
The Boulevard, Ground Level
P.O. Box 72127
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
tel 971 4 319 8767
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