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Roast Duck with a Bing Cherry Salad

Updated: Jun 23, 2020

A whole roasted duck is within your grasp because it's all about technique...not torture!

Whole Roasted Duck with a Bing Cherry Salad
Any stone fruit will work well with this dish: white donut peaches and Bing cherries pictured here.

It’s almost unthinkable that a meal this impressive could come together in under and hour, if you are willing to tackle the first part of the recipe in advance. Duck is notoriously fatty. Boiling it first and then roasting it renders a lot of the fat so that most bites are the best bites – tender, gamey duck with thin, crispy skin. A Bing cherry and herb salad with balsamic vinegar and freshly ground black pepper provides sweet and tart notes to this classic melody.

Equipment: cutting board; cutting board; chef’s knife; large stockpot with lid; plate; wooden spoons; small saucepan; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; roasting or sheet pan; spatula

Duck Ingredients: 1, 5-pound Long Island duckling (fully defrosted, if frozen) 1 teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper

Cherry Salad Ingredients: 1 cup pitted fresh Bing cherries

2 tablespoons parsley leaves 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 2 teaspoons honey

6 basils leaves, chiffonade kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons honeycomb

1. Fill enough cold water in a tall stockpot to cover the duck (make sure there is enough room left in the pot for the duck). Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.

2. Meanwhile, using the tines of a fork at an angle, prick the duck all over, especially the fattiest areas, such as the breast and thighs. Do not pierce the meat. Remove any excess fat by hand and with a knife that you can access easily, especially at the neck and the lower cavity.

3. Once the water is vigorously boiling, carefully lower the duck into the stockpot, neck end first, allowing the cavity to fill with water so the duck sinks to the bottom of the pot. Place a heavy dinner plate over the duck to weigh it down so it is always submerged. When the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 40 minutes.

4. When the duck has finished simmering, remove the plate and carefully lift out the duck, using two wooden spoons, one in each hand, through the cavity. Carefully hold the duck over the stockpot to drain any liquid from the cavity.

5. Place the duck on a cutting board lined with a few paper towels. Pat the duck dry thoroughly and coat the skin on all sides with the kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Transfer the duck to a roasting pan, breast-side up.

6. Now preheat the oven to 500°F, first moving the oven rack to the bottom third of the oven. In the time it takes the oven to come to temperature, the duck will have time to dry its skin prior to roasting, which makes for the crispiest skin.

7. As the oven preheats and the duck air-dries, prepare the cherry salad. In a bowl, combine the cherries, parsley leaves, balsamic vinegar, honey, basil, and kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

ILOC tip: don't be shy with the black pepper. Lots and lots of freshly ground pepper goes very well with sweet-yet-tart cherries, and the honeycomb used for garnish.

8. Place the duck in the oven legs first. Roast for 30 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and shut the door. Spoon out the fat that accumulates in the roasting pan to prevent the fat from smoking. To prevent the back of the duck from sticking to the pan, move the duck around with a spatula.

9. Return the duck to the oven for the remaining 15 minutes. Before carving, let the duck rest for 10 minutes. Serve the duck with torn bits of honeycomb and the cherry-herb salad.

Makes 2-4 servings.

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