The spice mixture in this classic dish is slightly exotic, reflecting the influence of a former colony, Vietnam, but added so subtly to such a traditional French presentation that it typifies exactly what Parisian food is all about. If desired, the duck can be spiced in a more staid manner, with only a handful of fresh thyme leaves tossed into the crushed garlic-brandy paste. Savoy cabbage is popular in France, especially with northern cooks, who like to pair it with roasted meats. Harvested in autumn, the pale green heads are large, with silky, tender, crinkled leaves and a milder flavor than regular green cabbage.Serve with an off-dry, perfumey white wine, such as Gewurztraminer or a gutsy red Burgundy, such as Gevrey-Chambertin.
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