Everything cooked for a lover is sensual.
~Isabel Allende, Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses

One variation on a fried rice theme…a motif limited only by your leftovers, pantry and creativity. As some food is best with bare toes plunked in the sand, somehow bowls of fried rice should be savored while adorned only with giddy, knowing grins and chopsticks in the wee hours. Well, this time of year maybe amorously draped in white linens. Nothing wrong, and most things right with intimate garb and grub.


2 C long grain rice
4 C chicken or vegetable stock

2 C roasted (or confit) duck meat, skinned, boned and cut into pieces
2-3 T soy sauce
1 T dry sherry
1 T sesame oil
1 T hoisin sauce
Freshly ground black pepper

2 T peanut oil
1 T duck fat
2 fresh, plump garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
4 thin slices peeled ginger

2 shallots peeled and thinly sliced
2 t red pepper flakes
3 fresh, plump garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 T ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 C frozen peas, thawed
1 C small mushrooms, halved and thinly sliced (optional)

4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

3-4 large eggs, lightly beaten

Cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
Egg yolks (optional)

Use leftover rice, or…place rice and stock in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to very low, cover tightly and continue cooking 12 to 15 minutes, until stock has evaporated and surface is pitted with “fish eyes.” Remove from heat, allow to cool in a bowl and then place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or even overnight.

Toss duck meat with soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil and hoisin, and add black pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a wok or large, heavy deep skillet, heat peanut oil, duck fat, smashed garlic and sliced ginger over high heat until sizzling. Do not burn. Remove garlic and ginger and discard, then add shallots and red pepper flakes and sauté until translucent and almost golden, stirring occasionally. Add minced ginger, garlic, peas and mushrooms and cook a couple of minutes more. Add rice and cook on medium heat until rice is heated through, stirring throughout. Fold in duck meat mixture and sliced scallions until heated. Make a deep, broad well in the center of the rice, and then add a splash more oil and when hot add eggs. Scramble the egg lightly, then let it set without stirring so it sets and stays in big pieces. Fold in the rice and gently toss until until well blended. Season with soy sauce to taste.

When serving, make a hollow in each mound of rice and carefully drop in an egg yolk. Then, garnish with cilantro.