Nice one Rob!!! Personally I work way through Delia's basics cook book finished off with a yellow canary "Ortolan" style. For those of you not familiar with the French delicacy of "Ortolan" ...(which is a small bird of the Bunting family)....the delicacy is created by first catching a live bird then drowning it in fine French cogniac so that the bird ingests the spirit, it is then roasted slowly in the oven and presented in a small wooden box. It is then eaten whole in secrecy with your head covered in a towel. Neil. PS: jus found this on forbidden food.
The birds must be taken alive; once captured they are either blinded or kept in a lightless box for a month to gorge on millet, grapes, and figs, a technique apparently taken from the decadent cooks of Imperial Rome who called the birds beccafico, or "fig eater", When they've reached four times their normal size, they're drowned in a snifter of Armagnac.
Cooking l'ortolan is simplicity itself. Simply pop them in a high oven for six to eight minutes and serve. The secret is entirely in the eating. First you cover your head with a traditional embroidered cloth. Then place the entire four-ounce bird into your mouth. Only its head should dangle out from between your lips. Bite off the head and discard. L'ortolan should be served immediately; it is meant to be so hot that you must rest it on your tongue while inhaling rapidly through your mouth. This cools the bird, but its real purpose is to force you to allow its ambrosial fat to cascade freely down your throat.
When cool, begin to chew. It should take about 15 minutes to work your way through the breast and wings, the delicately crackling bones, and on to the inner organs. Devotees claim they can taste the bird's entire life as they chew in the darkness: the wheat of Morocco, the salt air of the Mediterranean, the lavender of Provence. The pea-sized lungs and heart, saturated with Armagnac from its drowning, are said to burst in a liqueur-scented flower on the diner's tongue. Enjoy with a good Bordeaux.
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Last edited by Neil-T; 8th July 2013 at 09:37 PM.