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

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5 comments
  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!
    dot

    • 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:

      Thanks!
      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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