Duck Redux

So, the big duck roast was last night, and it went swimmingly. When I wrote about the superiority of duck compared with turkey, I also mentioned that I was unsure which cooking technique I would use. I went the low-temperature, then high-temperature route, not out of any strong feelings about its advantages, but because I timed the meal badly, and this method helped me salvage it. I roasted the duck for about one hour at 275°F, then let it rest for about 45 minutes. I returned it to the oven for another 30 minutes or so, but at a rocking 450°F! The low-temperature roast rendered a surprising amount of fat, and the high-temperature roast crisped the skin and rendered even more fat. The meat was perfectly cooked, incredibly moist, and didn’t have that unpleasant layer of fat that sometimes remains when I don’t roast the duck correctly.

Unfortunately, my sister and her life partner brought a great baguette (and an excellent Sonoma Pinot Noir, but that is for another post) with which I soaked up most of the fat and crispy bits from the bottom of the roasting pan. Perhaps that is why this morning I felt like drinking drain cleaner.

4 Replies to “Duck Redux”

  1. You should very seriously consider making the trek into Manhattan to taste the Duck Shepherd’s Pie at Balthazar. It is not a true “Shepherd’s Pie” by any means; it is something far more sublime. And I believe the recipe is in the Balthazar cookbook.

  2. I have seen this recipe, and I approve. And, as soon as I stop oozing duck fat from every pore, I will make the long trek into the bowels of New York and eat this pie. The cook book is one of the greats. Every dish is, at the very least, interesting. And some are spectacular. I have eaten at Pastis, which, as you may know, is owned by the same folks. But rumor has it that Balthazar is a much better restaurant.

  3. Wipe some of the leftover baguette across your brow every now and then. No reason for good duck fat to go to waste. And, the rumors are true. I’ve eaten at both several times and Pastis is mediocre and always over crowded. Balthazar has a far more interesting and extensive menu and wine list, and a beautiful raw bar. I once ate lunch there and then waited while they set up the dinner service and ate another meal.

  4. “Raw bar.” What a wonderfully evocative phrase. My favorite is Swan Oyster Depot in San Francisco. And Chez Louis in midtown Manhattan was pretty good, but obviously not good enough to avoid closing.I agree about Pastis. It is straightforward fare, executed adequately. It is good for people watching, and it is convenient. Both lousy excuses to patronize a restaurant.

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