Cold Duck on a Hot Summer Day

Reprinted by permission of the publishers, Lyons & Burford, from
"The Orvis Cookbook" (£19.00). All rights reserved.


Somehow, the prospect of eating a duck dinner in the summer is unappealing. However, this is the time to clean out the freezer and make room for pesto sauce and other products from the garden. (If I don't have thirty quarts of pesto frozen by the end of August, I start feeling insecure.)

There are usually a few overlooked frozen ducks in a corner of the freezer and I cook them early in the morning before the heat of the day, chill them, and make duck salad. This is also a good way to use leftover duck any time of the year, especially when the house-guest situation calls for more than a simple duck sandwich. The presentation looks elegant, and the combination of crisp rice noodles and lettuce with the chilled duck and sauce tastes elegant too. This can be made with domestic duck very successfully.

Cold Duck Salad Tamari
- Serves 4

  • 2 medium-sized wild ducks, or 2 long Island ducklings
  • 4 scallions, green part only
  • 3 to 4 ounces rice sticks
  • ½ head Boston lettuce
  • ¼ Cup tamari soy sauce.
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, put through a garlic press
  • ½ teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 6 large fresh mushrooms
  • ½ lemon

Preheat oven to 450°.

The day before, or early in the morning of the day of serving, put the ducks breast up in a shallow baking pan with a splash of water. Bake in a 450° oven for 10 to 12 minutes. (Long Island duckling is larger and may take a little longer.) The internal temperature when done should be 140°. Remove from the oven and cool. The breasts can be filleted from the birds and chilled in the refrigerator—it will be easier to julienne them when you are ready to assemble the salad. Make Duck Soup (which see) or duck stock from the remainder of the birds.

While the ducks are cooking, prepare the rice noodles by deep frying in small batches in safflower oil. Heat the oil to smoking hot and drop a few noodles in at a time. They will puff up immediately and curl. Do not brown them, they should be golden in color. Remove to paper towels to drain, and when cool store in a covered tin or tightly sealed plastic bag to preserve crispness.

Finely julienne the green scallion tops and refrigerate in a plastic bag. Slice the mushrooms thinly and squeeze the lemon juice over them. Chill in the refrigerator. Stack the washed and dried lettuce leaves 4 or 5 at a time, roll up like a cigar, and slice very thin. Chill in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Combine the tamari sauce, vinegar, garlic, mustard, and ginger, and whisk thoroughly. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.

Skin and julienne the duck breasts into thin strips. Return to the refrigerator in a plastic bag.

When ready to serve, place the crisp noodles on 4 plates. Cover the noodles lightly with the finely shredded lettuce. Sprinkle all but 4 of the mushroom slices and most of the scallions over the lettuce, reserving the rest for garnish.

Arrange the julienned duck on top and pour 2 or 3 tablespoons of the tamari mixture over each salad. Garnish each salad with the reserved strips of green scallion and a mushroom slice and serve immediately. A crusty bread and sweet butter go well with this.
Return to Top

Strawberries Margarita
- Serves 4

  • 1 quart fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons light, dry tequila
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
    • 2 tablespoons finely grated lime rind
    • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
    • 3 tablespoons coarsely ground almonds
    • Lime wedges (garnish)

    Hull, wash, and drain the strawberries on paper towels. Cut them in half and chill in the refrigerator. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and chill.

    When ready to serve, place the strawberries in a clear crystal or glass bowl or individual footed serving dishes. Spoon the tequila sauce over them and garnish with a wedge of lime for each serving.
    Return to Top