Wild Duck

January 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

I got this little fella as a party favor after a dinner party a few months ago. My girlfriend’s cousin had a freezer full of them after one of his friends went duck hunting and I was happy to take one off his hands. After finally deciding to make a Tuesday project out of it, I thawed the bird then salted and let it sit uncovered overnight in the fridge to help the skin crisp up better.

Since I’ve read about chefs experimenting with dry-aging wild game, some for up to 73 days, it was interesting to see the color change after only a day. It’s also somewhat surprising to see how little fat there is – I keep forgetting this ducky was a worker bee who hauled ass down to Cabo every summer.

Since this was my first time working with wild duck, I kept the preparation really simple by roasting in a hot oven with s+p, and a few star anise pods and garlic cloves in the cavity. The meat had a nice steak-like quality to it, nicely perfumed with anise but with none of the gaminess I expected. I did drop the ball though by forgetting to snap a pic after (the picture above is post “dry-age,” pre-450 degree oven).

Next time I plan to try a more assertive sauce like an apple mostarda or something else fruit-based to see how the meat holds up.

Next up: Curing duck breasts for a duck prosciutto and a duck speck.

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