Duck is known for its strong punch of uniquely meaty flavor that is coupled with a divinely rich mouthfeel. Read on to learn how different cuisines use this luxury meat in specialty foods and tempting delicacies.
What is Duck?
Duck belongs to the species of birds in the Anatidae family and can be found in freshwater and seawater. Ducks are given a special rank in the culinary world owing to their pungent flavor, high protein, fat, and nutrient content. Thankfully, duck meat doesn’t contain a high amount of saturated fats, unlike red meat.
Today, many duck species have been domesticated like mallard, Muscovy, and American Pekin duck. Pekin duck, although originating from China, is the most consumed duck species in North America. Since most of the Pekin ducks are harvested from Long Island in New York, they’re often called “Long Island” ducks.
Although duck is considered a luxury food in many cuisines around the world, French cuisine is especially known for its use of duck. The most well known French duck dish is foie gras. To prepare this dish, mallard ducks are gavaged for a certain period of time until their livers are enlarged. Foie gras is considered to be unlike any ordinary duck liver as it has a more delicate, buttery, and rich taste.
What Does Duck Taste Like?
Duck meat is regarded as purely gamey and strong in flavor. Moreover, it’s fattier than chicken or beef and makes some exceptionally tender meals that release delicious fat while cooking. Sometimes the taste might resemble a liver, especially if the meat is overcooked.
How To Cook Duck
Since duck is so strongly flavored on its own, you don’t always need any seasoning other than salt, especially if you’re cooking duck breasts. However, marinating duck in spices, and sauces for a few hours up to a day will greatly help in overcoming the gamey flavor, that’s great if you’re not a fan of it. This way is particularly preferred if you’re cooking the whole duck. Also, don’t forget to slit the skin beforehand to ensure the marinade seeps through evenly.
Duck tastes at its best when it’s not refrigerated for more than a day, so try to cook it fresh, and especially avoid freezing. This cooking guide will ensure you prepare it right in sous vide style.
Uses In The Kitchen
Duck meat can be found whole, in portions, with or without skin, and even cooked and canned in their own fat. Moreover, smoked and sliced duck breasts that you’ve probably seen in the grocery stores are fully cooked, and given a smoky flavor that makes a great addition to sandwiches, salads, stews, and pasta dishes.
When it comes to eating duck you have multiple options including roasting, grilling, braising, or cooking them casserole-style. However, we find the sous vide way of preparing duck, the easiest, and the best. Try out our Duck Breast recipe that’s creatively paired with toasted farro, shaved fennel, arugula, and grapefruit salad to tame the strong duck flavor.
Duck meat is especially popular in China, Thailand, and Europe. In China, enjoy duck meat either roasted, in stews, or in soup dishes. In Europe, enjoy duck seared steak-style or roasted and paired with citrus fruits, berries, and cherries. A popular Chinese duck dish, Peking duck, involves Pekin duck meat that’s roasted until the skin is crackling and the meat is tender inside. These delicious pieces of duck are then rolled inside a pancake accompanied with scallions, cucumber, pickled radish, and hoisin sauce to be savored right away. If you’re looking for some non-traditional duck recipes, check out these turkey recipes to swap with a more flavorful, and intense, duck meat.