Duck? W H A T ’ S U P w i t h
Chefs—and diners—are getting more adventurous.
By Suzanne Hall
A RECENT forum discussion in The
Atlanta Journal-Constitution centered
on the best restaurants for duck in the
city. While readers airing their views on
restaurants are nothing new, focusing
on duck venues seems a little unusual.
But, evidently, while many weren’t paying
attention, duck flew into the mainstream.
Now, it’s a frequently featured ingredient,
not just for center of the plate, but as an
appetizer, in soup or salad and on flatbread
or pizza. In fact, some restaurants, such
as The Shaved Duck in St. Louis, regularly
menu duck in nearly all those categories.
Kat Kobylarek is executive chef at The
Shaved Duck, which emphases smoked
meats on the menu. “I use whole duck, duck
breast and duck legs, and do everything from
roast to smoke to confit them,” she explains.
“Everything made with duck sells well.”
Among those best-sellers are starters
such as duck confit served on a mesclun
mix with a cider/molasses vinaigrette, and
a duck gumbo made with andouille and
ghost peppers. Confit also is the basis for
a pasta dish of smoked tomatoes, olives
and spicy fennel cream sauce over shell
noodles. Kobylarek uses smoked duck
breast in a salad with kumquat vinaigrette,
spiced almonds and caramelized shallots.
Bourbon-drizzled roasted duck breast,
smoked tomatoes, blue cheese and spinach
top flatbread. She serves pan-seared duck
breast cooked medium-rare over smoked
spicy applesauce as an entrée.
An appetizer trio offers a duck/cheese
quesadilla, a duck pot sticker and a duck
Kobylarek buys nationally distributed
Maple Leaf Farms (Milford, Ind.) whole
duck and duck parts. The duck is the white
Pekin variety, “which is the most popular
with consumers,” says Cindy Turk, Maple
Leaf Farms marketing manager. “The meat
is mild, tender and not gamey like other
breeds of duck.”