Hang 6 pound duck on hook – wire hanger will do pierced through neck. Easy way is to take wire hangar and cut in half with a wire cutter or pliers and then bend one end into a hook) Hold hooked duck over sink and pour boiling water all over, about a teakettle's full. (This is a one or two person job depending on your dexterity). The purpose of this is to open up pores and making is right for the marinade. Dry duck with cotton towel or paper towels well inside and out.
Separate as best you can the breast meat from the skin – one method I use but one which may make some who are concerned about germs a little nervous is sticking in sturdy straws under the breast meat and blowing in. This is a bastardized version of the classic method used to make this hallowed dish - alternatives are using bike tire hand pumps or motorized air pumps. To be absolutely sanitary of course don't blow into the duck but rather just use your fingers to pull the skin away from the meat. The whole goal is to get a differential cooking between skin and meat to obtain a crispy skin. This method results in boiling away most of the subcutaneous fat of the breast - and if you are really good at it even the thighs.
Put duck on plate and slather with combo of half cup of each of flavoring: soy sauce, sherry and one quarter cup of maple syrup; and juice of a 1/2 big lemon and 1/2 orange – the basting is easier accomplished with a pastry brush but a spoon will do. Another alternative if you have time on your hands is to hang the duck in the refrigerator by cutting the wire to about a 4 inch piece and bending it into an S shape – see below description. You will have to clear most food out of the fridge and put a pan below the duck to catch the inevitable drippings.
Put in refrigerator overnight (24 hours is best). Take duck out of fridge 1/2 hour before cooking. Preheat oven to 500°F and cook duck for 10 minutes and turn temp down to 375°F for another 40 to 45 minutes. Baste with marinade every 5 minutes – for super great duck, put duck directly on oven rack on top shelf, put other rack on lowest shelf and put drip pan on low rack. Fashion hooks – drapery hooks are great or 2 pieces of hangers cut in 4 inch pieces and woven into an S shape. Pierce neck and hang on top rung.
Optional, stuff with one quartered orange.
- Recipe by Paul Mones
by Kitty Kaufman