Wild duck is a rather poetic umbrella term for several different ducks, the most common of which is the mallard. The species has webbed feet and a flat, broad beak. The male and female have different colored plumage.
Ducks are found in wetlands, even in large cities. Mallards weigh up to 1.5 kilos and the male is slightly bigger than the female. The meat is quite dark and fine textured.
The flavor largely depends on where the ducks, which are omnivorous, have been feeding. In coastal areas they eat small animals and water plants, which impairs the flavor of their meat. Ducks that live on farms eat grain and have a milder flavor.
Keep in mind
Ducks taste best in late autumn.
What makes wild ducks stand out compared with other wild fowl is the amount of fat.
One duck breast will serve 1 or 2 people depending on size. Estimate 120 to 150 g per person.
The skin of sea birds needs to be cooked properly crisp – otherwise avoid having it on the plate.
How to cook duck
Stir fried duck:
- Finely shred the breast meat. Marinate in oriental spices, e.g. from a duck recipe.
- Finely shred vegetables such as carrot, swede, leek and beans.
- Stir fry the meat when the oil is properly hot.
- Add the vegetables, stir fry for a moment or two, as long as they need, and serve piping hot.
Fried duck breast: Place in a hot frying pan with plenty of butter, but finish off cooking in a medium oven. Use a thermometer and cook the breast to 55-56°C.
Make stock from the carcass: Chop up and season with onion, vegetables, a dash of vinegar and spices. A little bacon can add an extra dimension.
Roast duck: Roast in the oven at 170-180°C to an internal temperature of 70°C. The basics when roasting whole birds:
- Remove the giblets. Save the liver, heart and gizzard (e.g. for the sauce).
- Wipe the bird dry and remove any feathers with tweezers.
- Add fat under the skin, e.g. bacon and/or lard.
- Season on the outside and on the inside.
- Tie the bird into a neat shape for more even cooking.
- Juices run clear = completely cooked.
- Leave the meat to rest!
Wild duck – like farmed duck – works well with sweet and sour, fruity flavors.
You'll find more ideas for cooking wild fowl under.
Duck thighs make a great confit, as does farmed duck. Cook them for a long time, slowly, in duck fat until the meat is falling apart and tender.