Photo by Doug Sherring
If you want to roast a wild bird you will need to "lard" the duck by wrapping it in fatty bacon, and baste it frequently while cooking. Farmed duck will have a generous layer of fat beneath the skin.You need to melt some of this away. Sit the duck on a rack in a baking dish and start with a high heat. Once the fat has dripped down, carefully pour it off and continue to roast at a lower temperature. Do not throw this fat away - it will cook the best roast potatoes in the world. Adding to my duck excitement was the arrival of some cans of duck confit to try.
Duck confit is begun by salting the joints of the duck. The salt is washed off the next day and the duck dried. After cooking in its own fat, the duck joints are packed into a container or can, the fat poured over the duck, the container sealed and the confit stored in a cool, dark place to use later. The duck fat seals the meat and preserves it by preventing any air contacting the cooked meat.
Boiled baby beets and crispy lettuce are a perfect match for duck confit.
- Take the duck joints from the fat and pop them in a moderate oven for 10-15 minutes to reheat.
- Peel some roasting potatoes and cut them into chunky slices. Put them in a roasting dish and smother them with the duck fat from which you have removed the legs.
- Cook until potatoes are done. Drain off the fat and crisp up on some paper towels in the oven .
- Once the duck is reheated, turn on the grill and crisp up the skin.
- Remember the duck has been salted and the duck fat is rich so we need some fresh, sweet and slightly sharp flavours to contrast. Do not salt the potatoes.
- Offer some boiled baby beets, some crispy lettuce or some wilted savoy cabbage, and be liberal with the cracked pepper.