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Cuisine Spotlight: “Arroz con Pato” Duck Sausage with Rice at Catal in Downtown Disney

Cuisine Spotlight: “Arroz con Pato” Duck Sausage with Rice at Catal in Downtown Disney

Cuisine Spotlight – Catal in Downtown Disney

“Arroz con Pato” Duck Sausage with Rice at Catal

 

This is just a quick post on a dish I tried at the  Catal in Downtown Disney this past weekend. The dish is named “Arroz Con Pato.”; this dish roughly translates from Spanish to “Rice with Duck.” Catal is known for creating Mediterranean influenced dishes with a nod to Barcelona. Their menu is typically filled with dishes like charcuterie, paella and fish.

When I first saw “Arroz con Pato” on the menu, my foodie alter ego was skeptical;  I was not in the mood for a paella variation. Our waitress explained that the duck was actually in a  link of sausage and the rice was an equal actor in this dish. My skeptical foodie alter ego peeked its’ head over the wall.

Arroz Con Pato -“Rice with Duck”. Delicious Sausage made from duck and pig back fat, paella style rice and a duck egg!!!

 

This dish comes from Catal, located in DownTown Disney

Together, this dish is a symphony of flavors erupting from individual components, which each have their own complex tapestry of flavor and textures. Just as if you were to explain a great symphony performance, you would describe the overall composition and execution, but also the individual performance of the instrument sections and artists.  Let us break this dish down into its parts to truly appreciate the flavors.

Together, this dish is a symphony of flavors erupting from individual components, which each have their own complex tapestry of flavor and textures. Just as if you were to explain a great symphony performance, you would describe the overall composition and execution, but also the individual performance of the instrument sections and artists.  Let us break this dish down into its parts to truly appreciate the flavors.

 

 

Duck Sausage

 this duck sausage is house-made in the Catal kitchen using real duck meat, pork back fat and a complicated blend of spices that included fennel and garlic. The sausage was thin, so it looks like they were using duck casing to make the sausage. The texture was soft, yet slightly springy to give it a pleasant chewing texture that broke apart nicely when on the palate. The flavors were rich and dynamic. The duck was easy to taste in the sausage and stood out as the primary flavor; the pork back fat just added texture and flavor enhancement.  My foodie alter-ego was sitting with a box of tissues with tears of joy, like it was watching Fried Green Tomatoes movie for the first time. 

 

 

Mushroom Bomba Rice

 

This was a complex dish in its own right. The rice used in this dish is the “Bomba” variety; it is native to Spain and the preferred rice for making paella. The rice in this dish is made in the same preparation of paella in which the rice is roasted into the pan with oil and a broth is slowly added so that the rice absorbs the broth without getting mushy.

This method ingrains the richness of the beef broth (possibly duck broth?) into the rice, giving it a very lush, salty and savory flavor.  The mushrooms, added in during the cooking process, add hints of nuttiness and woodsy aromas. The mushrooms also add complexity to the rice by providing occasional squishiness to the subtle firmness of the rice.

Aside on Bomba Rice: Bomba rice is different than normal rice as it absorbed three times its volume in broth (rather than 2x in normal rice). When Bomba rice is cooked, it expands like an accordion and retains its individual structure as a grain of rice, resulting in each grain remaining distinct after cooking. In comparison to Italian Aborio rice, used in making risotto, Bomba tends to break down the rice and forms a creamy texture.  This style of rice is one of the elements that make Paella distinct. This type of rice dates back to early Roman occupation of Spain when Roman Aqueducts brought water into the Calasparra region of Spain, making it easier to grow rice.

 

Duck Egg: A duck egg is richer than your standard commercial chicken egg.  It was cooked over easy, such that the center of the yoke is still runny.

Aioli: The aioli, which is a classier version of mayonnaise, is house made with infusions of truffle. The truffle permeates the sauce both in flavor, smell and aroma, as you eat it.

These individual components could be eaten  on their own, as they each had their own distinct flavor. Although when the individual components are eaten together, something magical happens and my alter ego rolled it’s eyes back and gave the O Face! Yes my foodie readers…it was that good! The richness from the egg, sausage and broth infused rice come together similar in savory richness, but unique in individual flavor profile. As a result of the common savory flavor profile, the unique flavor characteristics of the duck proteins pop out on the palate. The truffle aioli, although still a very savory item, assists  in accentuating the other ingredients of the dish. The truffle adds the distinct notes of smokiness, earth and nuttiness that match accentuate the mushrooms in the rice. At this point my foodie alter-ego was laying on the bed, smoking a cigarette and bearing a foolishly happy grin on his face.  

I ate this dish with a rather nice 2007 Sonoma Landing Merlot.  This lovely wine paired perfectly with the dish, as its subtle oak and vanilla matched the duck protein, mushroom and aioli. The tannins were just harsh enough to cut through the fatty flavors of the meal. This wine is not on Catal’s wine list, because I brought it from my own collection. Aren’t you afraid of the corkage fee? No!  The restaurant, Catal has No Corkage Fee!  That is right, they do not charge corkage! This is a big bonus for anyone who loves their wine, but doesn’t want to drink their wallet.

If you haven’t been to Catal before, it is located in the center of Downtown Disney and is in the Blue Art Deco building. Their menu changes seasonally, so if you desire to try this dish, it will be there for another two months or so.

This dish earns a well-deserved, 4.5 out of 5, near perfect in creativity, presentation,  house made techniques, flavors and overall execution of this dish as a symphony of individual flavors. I rarely blog this much about an individual dish; although in this case, the dish is a true standout.

 

About Tom Holmberg

Tom grew up in a cultural diverse neighborhood and a culturally diverse family, so he has learned to appreciate all types of food. "I am not a Chef, nor do I play one on T.V., but I have learned to appreciate food from years of eating and cooking." Tom also spent 10 years in the restaurant industry in various roles, from Prep Cook to server.

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