Whole roasted duck for a holiday meal

Cooking duck at home is a classic example of where my pursuit of perfection undermines the “tasty enough”. For years, I struggled to cr...

Cooking duck at home is a classic example of where my pursuit of perfection undermines the “tasty enough”.

For years, I struggled to create the idealized vision for roast duck that I had in mind. It must have had a crisp, browned skin as crispy as potato chips and ruby-colored breast meat as rare as steak and dripping with schmaltz-iced juice.

The best way to approach it was to use a technique I learned from Ariane Daguin, the founder of d’Artagnan, a supplier of gourmet products specializing in duck. First, I roasted the duck until the breast was pink at 130 degrees. Then I would take the steaming bird out of the pan and hold it by the drumsticks to tear off its legs, which returned to the oven to finish cooking while the breast rested.

The technique is brilliant. But that’s not the kind of greasy maneuver I want to take when the company is over. After a cocktail, battling a hot, slippery five-pound waterfowl in a silk blouse isn’t stress-free entertainment.

Roasting a duck like a chicken, however, is a simple affair. And with the inclusion of a few tweaks, the result can be an easy-to-cook, perfectly delicious bird – without any of the creamy threats lurking.

One thing that differentiates roasting a duck from roasting a chicken is the duck’s stupendous layer of fat. This fat must be melted in the oven to baste the duck meat and make the skin crisp. There are two classic ways to do this: prick the skin or mark it.

I have found that combining the two works extremely well, giving the fat even more opportunities to escape.

Mrs. Daguin advises to mark the skin in a tight hatch pattern in order to obtain ¼ inch squares.

“The little squares get very crisp,” she said, “and the smaller they are, the more palatable they taste.”

Another trick, she added, is to take inspiration from the Chinese method of making roast duck and douse the skin with boiling water. This tightens the pores, making the skin easier to cut.

Once roasted, the bird comes out with golden skin, tender meat, and melted fat, and are just waiting to meet potatoes – a holiday meal that the cook and company can rejoice in.

Recipe :Crispy Roast Duck

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Newsrust - US Top News: Whole roasted duck for a holiday meal
Whole roasted duck for a holiday meal
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