Last year I wrote an article about duck legs. Here it is. In the article I pointed out that duck legs are economical, relatively easy to buy, and delicious. In conclusion, I said, you should eat them often, like my family does. Iris, who was about 11 months old at the time I was writing, was particularly fond of them.
While testing recipes and otherwise researching this article, you could often find a dozen duck legs in my freezer. Naturally, by the time this article was published, we were sick of duck legs and didn’t eat them again for a year. I assume this is often true when you read an article on a particular topic. Like, after Pitchfork puts together their annual best-of list, they probably spend January listening to nothing but Bob Seger and the Three Tenors. And it’s easier to burn out on duck legs than the Arcade Fire.
Anyway, yesterday I was at the U District farmers market and loaded up on green beans, peaches, Alden Farm potatoes, huckleberries, and other stuff that I can’t remember because I already ate it. Walking back to the bus I thought, hmm, potatoes…green beans…DUCK LEGS. So I stopped at University Seafood and Poultry for four duck legs. There should be some hip drug slang for requesting four duck legs, like a “quad” or a “fo-pack”.
I took the duck legs home and prepared them according to Mark Bittman’s “crisp-braised” method. If you make this recipe, and I recommend it, don’t bother with the vegetables, which are too braised out to eat by the end and do very little for the flavor of the duck. Use some good broth or a broth and wine combo, serve vegetables on the side, and consider making a sauce. I made potatoes fried in duck fat and green beans blanched and marinated in lemon juice and olive oil.
Oh, there was another inspiration for this dinner. The other day at the park Iris grabbed one of those climbing structure steering wheels and announced that she was driving to Lark, which is a great Seattle restaurant. (She’s never been there.) I said, “Here we are at Lark! Try the crispy duck leg,” which is indeed something Laurie and I have eaten at Lark. Iris became mildly obsessed with the idea of crispy duck leg.
So rather than shred the duck meat for Iris, as I would normally do, I just gave her a whole drumstick to chew on. She needed a little help, but she ate the entire thing. Then her friend Sam rolled by in his stroller, as he often does during dinner, and she waved her drumstick at him.
The moral of the story is, eat duck legs while listening to the Arcade Fire, and watch out for those tenors.