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Wilfrid

Duck

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I wish we could stop undercooking duck. Most of the misery from the duck breast restaurant dishes of the last 12 months has been the kitchen’s insistence on serving it rare or medium rare (even though I now request medium). The result, a rubber ball, with those indigestible stringy pieces for which there must be a biological term.

 

I cook medium or beyond at home, which makes it more tender, and although it changes the flavor, doesn’t do so in a bad way. (I can get my blood and iron fix from more suitable meats.)

 

What made me think of this again was cooking duck legs yesterday. I gave the skin a stove-top sear, then put in a hot oven for 40 minutes. They were still pale rubber balls. I turned the oven down and left them for another hour plus. Result: crisp mahogany skin, rendered fat, fork-tender meat.

 

Most of this goes for lamb too (see Joe’s Paris post), but I admit it’s easier to eat rare. (Two notes: very high quality magrets are exempt; and raw duck, which I’ve eaten as a ceviche, isn’t a problem - not that problem, anyway).

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In my experience, wrong duck has = overcooked breast and under-cooked legs.   Lamb kind of the same.   Overcooked loin and under-cooked shoulder and feet.   This shouldn't rock one's logic nor stretch the kitchen's ability to cook each in the way that makes/keeps it succulent..

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I wish we could stop undercooking duck. Most of the misery from the duck breast restaurant dishes of the last 12 months has been the kitchen’s insistence on serving it rare or medium rare (even though I now request medium). The result, a rubber ball, with those indigestible stringy pieces for which there must be a biological term.

 

I cook medium or beyond at home, which makes it more tender, and although it changes the flavor, doesn’t do so in a bad way. (I can get my blood and iron fix from more suitable meats.)

When I was going out to dinners with a food critic of a certain age, she always requested her dining partners order stuff rare, if it was able to be ordered that way...fish, duck, lamb - you get the picture.

 

I learned early on to order braised or other long cooked dishes. Some stuff just needs to be cooked a little more. 

 

But how one can undercook duck legs without knowing they're fucking up is beyond me.

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aged, small and gamey -> raw breast with just a sear on the fat. Alternatively if you're a poacher, a very gentle poach of slices. 

 

fresh, big, and bland -> medium with plenty of rendering, maybe complete removal of the fat. 

 

Legs well done, for sure. 

 

The silverskin, similarly, more important in some breeds than others. And if you've learned your duck butchery stateside you're in for a surprise when you cut through your eurobreast and find that vein full of blood you were supposed to remove. 

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I knew there was a better name for those stringy pieces -- which well-known New York kitchens are not trimming.

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I made duck last night for dinner, and had a similar thought. Also, despite employing the google, I haven't received a satisfactory explanation as to why is rare duck is "okay" when rare chicken is well known to be a big no.

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Duck is raised for rich people and rich people don't like getting salmonella. If ducks were raised and processed under the same price constraints as chicken, it'd be equally unsafe to eat raw.

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The salmonella I got was from a chicken, and I don’t recommend it.

 

I’ve eaten raw duck (which is better than under cooked duck) as a “ceviche.” I think that’s vaguely relevant, not sure why.

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