Local Foodie: Before Suzanne Acharya writes the dinner menus for her gourmet food store/restaurant, Esperance, she checks in with local farmers to see what’s ripe for the picking. Count on that fresh produce to be worked into any one of the six to eight courses you’ll get when you dine (Tuesday through Saturday, May through October) at the Charlevoix restaurant Acharya owns with her husband, Pram. That same philosophy has Acharya hotwired into the catch of the day from nearby Cross Fisheries. “Our fish is swimming in the morning and served at night,” Suzanne says. Combine this penchant for fresh and local foods with the Acharyas’ long foodie résumé (they met working under Certified Master Chef Milo Cihelka, at the famed Golden Mushroom restaurant in Southfield) and a wine list to die for, and you have the ingredients for an unforgettable dinner. esperancewine.com.
4 Pekin duck breasts 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 teaspoon olive oil
4 teaspoons Lavender Pixie Dust (made and sold by Esperance from lavender grown at Lavender Hill Farms in Boyne City, lavenderhillmichigan.com, where it is also available).
4 tablespoons lavender jelly (available at Lavender Hill Farms and Esperance) Balsamic Syrup for garnish
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Using the tip of a sharp paring knife diagonally score the fat side of each duck breast to make a diamond pattern. Pre-heat an 11-inch sauté pan on low heat and coat lightly with olive oil. Place duck breasts fat side down in the pan, increase heat to medium-high and sauté until fat becomes crisp and brown; turn breasts and sauté for 30 seconds and then remove pan from heat. Rub each breast with one teaspoon of lavender pixie dust and rest for five minutes. Coat the fat side of each seared duck breast with one tablespoon of lavender jelly, place in roasting pan and roast for approximately five minutes or until internal temperature reads 130 degrees. Remove cooked duck breasts from oven and rest for five minutes. Thinly slice duck breasts, fan on plate and drizzle lightly with balsamic syrup.