Though I snapped both the photos featured in this week’s Food Fight, I did not cook either. Both were prepared by professional chefs in two very nice restaurants. I’m presenting them here to make a point about game meat, and duck in particular. I’m tired of people, including hunters, bad-mouthing the way wild game tastes. It’s bad enough when the uneducated public does it, but every time I hear a waterfowler say, “Duck tastes like crap,” all I can do is shake my head (to keep from shaking them).
If you’re cooking duck and it tastes bad, the only thing I can tell you is you’re doing it wrong. There’s a reason duck can be found on the menus of high-end restaurants around the world and it’s not because it tastes bad. (Spare me the lecture about the difference between domestic and wild ducks. Fact is: The taste isn’t that different.) So, to otherwise convince the non-believers, here are two dishes that reaffirmed my belief that, done well (but not well done), duck is delicious.
Mario Batali’s B&B Ristorante
A perfectly cooked, crisp-skinned roast duck leg and breast, served over braised cabbage with a light drizzle of vin cotto.
Charlie Palmer’s Aureole**
A wild bitter greens and caramelized bosc pear salad with duck prosciutto, shaved foie torchon and quince vinaigrette.
Enough of my ranting; let’s vote. Though I’m not sure I could tell you which dish tasted better, I’m leaving it to you to tell me which looks better. And if you’ve got a duck dish or fish or game photo you’d like to see here, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.