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Roasting Duck

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Q. I’ve eaten duck at restaurants and enjoyed it, but it seems rather intimidating to make at home. Any suggestions on how to approach it? – Rosemary, Menasha

A. Duck is delicious, yet seems to be enjoyed as a special occasion type entrée by most people as its overall consumption is not very high. Domesticated ducks bred for eating (unlike wild ducks that are harvested by hunters) are pretty fatty which tends to make the flesh very flavorful. A significant amount of fat is under the duck’s skin, so one suggestion is to slowly roast the duck with dry heat in either an oven or indirectly on a grill to render the fat and create a nice crispy skin. Slits are often cut into the skin to allow the fat to render more easily. Many people enjoy eating duck breast slightly undercooked to medium or medium rare, but the dark meat of the legs and thighs is full of collagen and needs to be cooked thoroughly in order to make them tender. When cooking ducks in quarters, some cooks start cooking the legs and thighs earlier than the breasts to achieve the difference in doneness. Most people enjoy the duck skin crispy, which lends itself to be finished with a complimentary fruit glaze. Fruits including oranges, apricots, peaches and cherries all make very nice glazes for duck.

 

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