I have long understood duck confit to be one of those magical foodstuffs that can lift those who eat it to ecstatic heights. I remember hearing some chef or other say that if you put duck confit on the plate, you win--no matter what you pair it with, it's just that good. An exaggeration, I'm sure. But last night, when Ian and I went to Sante in Spokane (at last! we've been meaning to go since I started school here two years ago and it had to be our last chance to go before we finally made reservations) I finally got to see what the fuss is about. (As you can see, I couldn't wait for Ian to take the picture--we're those cool people who take pictures of their food in restaurants, though thankfully it was light enough not to need a flash--to take my first bite.)
If you don't know, duck confit is prepared in a very special way. It is made with the leg of a duck, salt-cured, and then poached in the animal's own fat. Many of you probably know that duck fat is culinary gold. There are lots of fats out there that, once rendered, might be worth throwing away--they taste good, but they are saturated fats after all, and we Americans are, as I understand it, concerned about that. But duck fat is one of those flavorful things that makes you say, who cares? Health schmealth.
Anyway, Sante served their duck confit with spaetzle (also a first for me--yum), asparagus, morels (marinated in something sweet--I would tell you exactly what but I forgot to write it down and their menu isn't updated on their website since they cook seasonally--but morels were also a delicious first for me) and some sort of cream sauce (I feel quite remiss in not being able to tell you exactly what--you'll just have to go to Sante and see, I suppose). It was one of those unforgettable meals. We also had the bresaola plate to start, which had bread, cheese, cured beef, apple, and some homemade strawberry preserves--all lovely. For dessert: vanilla creme brulee (is there anything better than creme brulee?) and cappuccino. All around, a fantastic meal.