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He would propose a whole fish in aspic, a tarragon-stuffed roast chicken, a ballottine of duck, or his famous gigot—pink, tender, and stuffed with garlic.
On the table for dinner would be the ballottine, beautifully decorated with egg white and jelly; roast leg of lamb, thinly sliced and served with a parsley sauce; hot, open meat pies with pine nuts; baked noodles with eggplant; several bowls of vegetable salads; cold fried fish served with Zemino sauce made with garlic and anchovies—one of my favorite dishes—and five different types of pickles.
Meanwhile Ahmet would be preparing a ballottine of duck to be served sliced with a dark, smooth jelly.
I would immediately pounce on the ballottine and the fried fish as my grandmother would shake her head in despair over my lack of manners.
Lobster consommé, sole ballottine, stuffed rabbit with a leek gratin: these were the components of El Bulli’s regular menu.
Still, when I ate a ballottine of duck, the dish would bring back memories of Ahmet’s kitchen and I would feel totally forlorn.
I stared at huge roast legs of lamb; Ahmet’s famous duck ballottine; tiny squabs stuffed with rice and roasted almonds a famous dish made especially for young couples to wish them a sweet life full of love; kofta, small meatballs in an apricot sauce; and countless other delicacies.
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