ROAST DUCK with QUINCE ESCABECHE
Seasonal Spanish Food
by Jose Pizarro
We always had a flock of white ducks when I was a child. We kept them for eggs. It wasn't until I moved to Madrid that I ate duck meat for the first time.
I have based the cooking times on a farmed duck with large amounts of breast meat. If you are using wild mallard, you will need two birds for this dish; adjust the cooking time accordingly.
· 1/2 cup soft brown sugar
· 3/4 cup Moscatel or white wine vinegar
· juice and zest of 1 unwaxed orange
· 2 whole cloves
· 1 dried red chile pepper
· 1 star anise
· 2 cups water
· 3 large quinces, peeled, cored, and quartered
· 1 free-range duck (approx. 3¼ lb)
· 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
· salt and freshly ground black pepper
· 1/4 cup toasted whole hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
· 2 bunches of watercress, thoroughly rinsed
· 2 mint sprigs, leaves stripped and chopped
Put all the escabeche ingredients, except for the quinces, in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then add the quinces and simmer until the pieces are tender. This can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the firmness and size of the quince pieces. Decant the fruit and the syrup into a suitable container and let them marinate in the fridge until needed.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Lightly season the duck with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to roast the duck for another 60 minutes. Once cooked, remove the meat from the carcass in hearty chunks, not polite slices.
Bring the quinces to room temperature before serving. Take the quinces and several spoonfuls of the escabeche and mix them with the salad ingredients. Arrange this quince and watercress salad on a large platter, then place the warm duck pieces on top. Let your guests help themselves.