Lucky Duck

Sliced duck crisp on the outside and tender in the middle

Allie and I don’t cook much heavy food. Actually, we don’t cook or consume much meat at all. You may have noticed we lean hard toward fruits and vegetables. We both believe that a good peach or watermelon or tomato can soar miles above meat in terms of taste, aesthetics, and how your food will make you feel.

But sometimes you hunger for a burger. Or a steak. Or something decadent that you can’t pinpoint but hit the market in an attempt to. On a recent search, my mind landed on the bullseye: duck. I had never cooked duck before. Well, quack quack.

Duck breast cooking in a cast iron pan

Just-sliced duck breast on a cutting board

Parsley salad ready to go under crisp duck breast

On the rare occasion we cook something dark and heavy, we lift it with something light. We lift skirt steak with chimichurri, swordfish with lemon, hot soups with cool yogurt, burgers with pickled onions, bourbon with fruit. (Again, this is rare stuff. Allie eats red meat maybe four times a year!)

Duck… we lift duck with parley salad and a nice lemon zap.

A plate of pan-sauteed duck breast and a plate of parsley salad

Sliced duck on a bed of parsley salad

Duck is pretty easy to cook. I can’t believe it took me so long to try. You don’t even need oil. The duck fat sizzles, renders, and becomes “oil.” After cooking your duck, you rest the bird so the juices don’t leak out (and flavor with them). I followed a granular duck breast recipe from Leite’s Culinaria. The recipe comes from a former Gourmet food editor. It’s nice and thorough, which is what I want when I cook something I’ve never cooked before (to learn as much as I can).

When your duck is finished, you’ll notice a pool of duck fat left in your pan. How to get rid of this mess? Make roasted brussels sprouts.   -Chris

Slices of cooked duck over unchopped parsley gremolata

16 thoughts on “Lucky Duck

  1. Catherine

    As my better half is a Frenchman, I cook duck magret all the time. It’s a great dupe for steak when cooked correctly. I usually serve with a cherry cream sauce and a nice Chateau Margaux (preferably 2005). But the greatest thing about duck is the rendered fat. I keep a steady supply and it is, hands down, THE best fat for cooking cubed potatoes as well as other veg.

    Nice post. Now you have me deciding on whether to roast a chicken this weekend or preparing duck!


    1. Made in Rome

      Your duck game sounds much stronger than mine. Take number one went well for me, but I’m not at cherry-cream-sauce levels just yet. Maybe next time. Then, I’ll be sure to look up the Chateau Margaux. Thanks for the tip. -Chris


  2. Karen

    Nice job Chris…no one would know that this was your first try. Your duck looks perfectly cooked and delicious. I too agree about a little greens to go with the duck, I like rocket (arugula). I also like to serve duck on top of a lentil salad.


    1. Made in Rome

      Thanks, Karen. I bet the sharpness of arugula rocks with the meaty duck. Just caught your carbonara post. Now I have carbonara on my mind, and there’s only one way to take care of that….


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