03.07.10: dinner (roasted duck with no adornments).

Roasted Duck Leg

I nearly changed the title Elizabeth gave to this post, but I realize  ‘Roasted Duck with no Adornments’ is very accurate because roasted duck needs no adornments.  So perhaps I should instead write, roasted duck is its own adornment.

This is another one I gotta send up to my boy Alton Brown, who premiered ‘Twas the Night Before Good Eats this past Holiday season, complete with a roast duck preparation.  Sadly, I had to wait to try my hand at this; I had taken my first stab at duck roasting a scant few weeks before the episode aired and sorry, but that’s just too much duck.  So I waited and bided my time trifling with tapas and pizzas until the time was right.

Three months hence, I decided to ask this particular lady to dance again.  When faced with a daunting ingredient or preparation, take your time, pick a weekend and choose the date and time you march into battle.  Pick a quiet weekend where you won’t mind if something goes wrong and everyone will be happy with pizza.  Alton recommends dry-aging the birdie before roasting.,  I did not, but I get it.  I dry-aged a standing beef rib roast once, did it no end of good.  However, I think that the duck is luscious enough to survive the hot box without the 4 days of fridge-aging (although I will try it someday).

The prep is simple.  Buy a duck and spatchcock it.  Shortly, cut out the spine and remove the sternum, Grey’s Anatomy-style, then cut two slits in the leg skin/fat and insert the end of the drumsticks therein.  You have one flat bird, ready for the high heat.  I salted the bejeezus out of any exposed skin and let it sit for a few hours in the fridge until roasting time.  Then, give it hell at 350 F for 60-75 minutes until you get to 170-180 F or so.   The salty, savory skin will be your reward.  Truly, the only adornment you need.  If you’re feeding more than 4, you will need more than one 4 lb duck or some kind of super-duck.  Elizabeth and I managed to polish an entire duck off in one dinner, but I was the primary duck consumer that night, I won’t lie.  The point is don’t be afraid of unorthodox ingredients or preparations.  I’ve seen that Good Eats about corning your own beef brisket a bunch of times now, and rather than live vicariously through the TV Food Jockeys, eventually I will try my own hand at it.  Inspiration is fine, but it’s all too easy for that to change over to cooking by proxy.  Frankly, I don’t think the networks care either way, but there is a great feeling when you watch those shows and say, ‘Hey, I can do that!’ (and an even better feeling when you can watch and say ‘Hey, they’re doing that wrong!’).

Until next time, cook on!

Duck Meat on Foodista

  1. dot said:

    You make it sound pretty easy :). That AB episode inspired me too, but I haven’t yet attempted a duck. Where did you buy your duck? I remember Alton talked about ordering off the internet or buying local.

    If you wanna try your hand at corning your own beef, my friend Niki did a series on that right before St. Pat’s… http://foodwhirl.com/seasonalholiday/corned-beef-and-cabbage-or-how-i-got-lucky-part-1-of-3

    Thanks for sharing… you guys are great!

    • Thanks! Living in NYC means it’s pretty easy to source Long Island duck at several grocery stores, but here’s a good Internet option: http://www.dartagnan.com/51438/Gourmet-Poultry.html?npp=24 The Pekin (LI-style) here is similar in price to what we paid in-store, and as you can see is significantly less expensive than trying roasted goose!

    • dot said:

      Yeah, I’m in Atlanta, and I haven’t checked the supply here. But we have some good specialty markets, so who knows. An internet option seems like an easy one, though!

  2. After seeing NHA’s post on taking a duck apart today I don’t know that I could have eaten this tonight. That being said if I wait a week, I think it’s just about duck time… now to find duck in Syracuse….without getting my own.

  3. Lazaro said:

    We met on food buzz and I will be following you here. Roasted duck leg is on of my favorites…makes the most amazing duck ravioli. Your photos look incredible. Have a great day!

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