Dickens’s Tiny Tim wasn’t the only one clamoring for a fat, juicy roast goose on his holiday table. Alsatian as well as Central and
No golden eggs did these geese supply, but something better: streams of molten ivory schmaltz, rendered fat. Enough for delectably crisp Hanukkah potato pancakes, with plenty left over to be sealed in ritually cleansed jars for use at Passover.
Like most Sabbath foods, the succulent bird was chockablock with garlic, the ancient aromatic love potion enlisted to make sure the Friday night connubial duties would be performed.
The passion for garlic still smolders, but today a fatty bird bespeaks a déclassé cook.
There are several methods for removing most of the fat from a goose. The so-called Peking Duck technique—immersing the bird in boiling water to open its pores and then drying the skin, sometimes with a hair-dryer—reduces much of the thick fat layer. But it entails finding a pot huge enough to submerge a 10-pound bird, and worse, washing it clean of goose fat afterward. Not to mention the dryer.
I use a simpler method. First work your hands under the skin to pull out all the loose fat. Then douse the skin with boiling water, vinegar, and honey to melt some of the subcutaneous fat, and pierce all over so the fat will exude. Piquant orange and apricot flavoring rubbed under the skin permeates the flesh and parries the richness.
© 2000 Jayne Cohen. All rights reserved.