Methods of Cooking Duck

Appears in
The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine

By French Culinary Institute

Published 2021

  • About
The French are considered masters at cooking duck. Only the very young, plump female is considered appropriate for roasting to a juicy pale-pink color. Older, less tender duck may also be roasted, but it will usually be cooked until well-done. Often, when roasting, the breast might be removed while still slightly rare and served, sliced on the bias, as a separate course, while the remainder of the duck continues to cook to well-done to be served in a later course. Also, in classic French cooking, the breast and the leg are often handled in separate preparations. Because duck lends itself to such a wide array of preparations, it is an extremely valuable ingredient in the restaurant kitchen. It may be roasted whole, or the breast may be removed and sautéed or grilled, while the leg meat can be braised separately. Although the breast is quite tasty cooked to well-done, contemporary cooks often prefer to cook it until, at the most, medium-rare. Legs, on the other hand, are always cooked to well-done. Traditional garnishes for duck include turnips, English peas, olives, and fruits such as oranges, pineapples, and cherries.