Roasted duck is my favorite poultry but it is not as forgiving as other birds when it comes to preparing. There are simpler ways to roast a duck, but the following recipe and procedure should help ensure the skin to be nicely crisped, the meat tender and not greasy at all.. The biggest obstacle is price and quantity. Tame duckling is far more expensive than chicken or turkey and one bird will only feed 3 to 4 people.
1 duckling (about 41/2 pounds), thawed, rinsed and patted dry (reserve neck
and giblets for the sauce)
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
6 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Mix the minced rosemary, sage, salt and black pepper and rub over the outside and inside cavity of the duck. Place the rosemary sprigs in the cavity.
Set the seasoned duck on a rack above a roasting pan and leave uncovered in a cool, airy place for 4 hours so that circulating air dries out the skin and the seasonings are absorbed.
Bring several inches of water to a boil in a wide, deep pot fitted with a rack 1 inch above the water. You can use a wok if needed. Place the duck, breast-side up, on the rack. Cover the pot and steam over high heat, adding more boiling water if necessary, until the skin becomes taut and starts to pull away from the wing-joints, about 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool to room temperature and brush the skin with balsamic vinegar. If desired, this can all be done the day before. Just wrap the duck in plastic and refrigerate, but make sure to bring it to room temperature before roasting.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the duck on a rack inside a roasting pan. Roast until the skin is crisp and brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, tent and let rest for about 15 minutes before carving. Serve with a tawny port sauce made with a duck stock reduction.