One of the drawbacks of duck is the immense amount of fat that commercial ducks have under their skins. Wild duck is a different story, and if any of you have the opportunity to try wild duck, you will see what I mean and you will be in for a treat. Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, I am roasting ducks for Thanksgiving and am in the process of aging them. But I trimmed much of the extra skin (and fat) away from the carcasses and was left with more than one pound of duck fat and skin. What to do? My grandmothers knew what to do with this stuff, and I am nothing if not derivative. So I cut the skin into little pieces and rendered the whole mess. Rendering is simply gently heating the fat and skin until the water evaporates, at which point, you are left with duck fat and duck skin. I poured off about a pint of fat, and now I am browning the skin in the remaining fat. In Yiddish, the crispy bits are called “gribenes,” and in English, I guess “cracklins” is the best word. Whatever you want to call them, just make them and, when they are nice and crispy, drain them, sprinkle a bit of salt over them and enjoy!
For the health nuts among my many readers, duck fat is highly unsaturated (at least for an animal fat) and certainly more healthy than butter. And if you want to pan-fry potatoes, there is nothing better.