Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 221: Yucky Ducky

The other day, I roasted my first duck. Which means I also ate my first whole-roasted duck. Not that I ate the whole thing; I'd just never had duck cooked that way. It's always confit or seared duck breast. Whole roasting produces very different results. Of course, I can't be certain--the ducks I've eaten in the past might have been full grown, but by the portion sizes, I think they were ducklings. Canetons. You see, I used Julia Child's recipe for roasting this duck, so I figure I ought to use the French term. Even if my duckling was American.

Basically, my duckling drove me crazy. I got it all set up in the roasting pan, which turned out to be too big, which meant that the vegetables I strew around it burned to ash instead of absorbing all the duck fat and caramelizing. I discovered I didn't have any string that wasn't green (if you need to know why I didn't use that to truss my bird, watch Bridget Jones' Diary and watch her make blue soup), and I didn't trust my cat alone with the duck, I made do with toothpicks, until my duck looked like it was receiving acupuncture. Which is okay, really, because you need to prick the duck to let the fat drain out. Then I cooked it, stirred the burnt veggies, spooned out the fat (my turkey baster is apparently useless; I threw the darn thing away), and when it was done I let it rest and then carved a beautiful breast off the carcass, grabbed it the with the tongs, and attempted to put it on my husband's plate.

It was slipperier than I thought.

So, though I'd managed to take my other duck obstacles in stride, when that breast hit the floor, I started to throw a tantrum. You might have called it a hissy fit. I jumped up and down, slamming my feet into the linoleum and yelled a stream of profanities that I won't repeat here. My husband, ever the pragmatist, quickly grabbed the breast off the floor and washed it, telling me it was okay, he'd still eat it, it was okay. Me, I retired to the living room for a few minutes to cool off. And then I came back and attempted to eat the other breast.

The skin was far from crisp. It was kind of disgusting. The meat was tender but nothing like I was used to being served in restaurants, the meat paler than I had imagined. I hadn't been able to make Julia's sauce since my vegetables were charred, so I stupidly opened the packet of orange sauce the company I bought my duck from provided. Beyond disgusting. That, plus leftover polenta that had congealed strangely. I ate one bite before switching to popcorn for dinner.

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