Daunted by Duck? Here's Where to Start

February 21, 2018

Duck feels so fancy to me. Maybe that’s because I’m 23 and the thought of eating a bird that isn’t chicken makes me feel like Henry XIII seated at a 40-foot oak table drinking from a chalice. But maybe it doesn’t have to be that way. Right? Right.

Enter the Food52 recipe search bar. I work here, so, naturally, I spend a lot of time on our site, wandering through that portal. Have you met it? It’s lovely. Recently, I perused the site for duck because I wanted to fact-check my fear. Did duck really have to be so daunting? No, it didn’t. Here’s what I found.

I started with this Melissa Clark recipe because it had the words "really easy" in the title. The hardest thing it asks for is flipping a duck leg in a hot pan, which I’m pretty sure I could do. I’d just need to remember to cure the gams 24 hours in advance. Then there's also this crispy-skinned, maple-lacquered I'm confident I could conquer. It's all about that sear and step-back mode of cooking. A sweet and sticky glaze brings it all together.

This preparation told me I could just grab a roasted duck from a Chinese deli. Hey, I can do that! Once purchased, it’s just a matter of shredding the dark meat and folding it into a rich broth with noodles. Don’t mind if I do.

A slow and simple pan roast bring this peppery, decadent duck breast to life. Plus with the help of some spices—and a few yummy blanched potatoes—I’d definitely get me a dinner.

Hmm, this one leans more on the involved side. Nonetheless, most of the labor just comes from assembling a brine for the duck legs to sit in overnight. With a little foresight, I could see myself pulling this one together.

Meatballs! Now, there’s a familiar face. Chopped duck meet spices and breadcrumbs and a new shape. Top it all off with a lovely orangey sauce.

And for the ambitious among us, there’s always the prospect of a whole roasted duck. Feed a few with either of these preparations. One skews simple, the other opts instead for a bright and zippy citrus topping. But hey! Look here! We have an article that simplifies the more complicated recipe:

How do you prefer your duck? Share your recipes in the comments below.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • FrugalCat
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


FrugalCat February 27, 2018
I'm going to take a quack at these recipes soon.
Eric K. August 19, 2019