Duck meat is succulent and full of flavour but all too often only consumed on special occasions. There are many breeds of duck, each with its own distinctive culinary attributes. The Indian runner, Aylesbury, Peking, Norfolk, Long Island, Gressingham, Barbary, Rouen, and mallard are just some of the species of duck available for the table.
Wild duck should always be consumed within three days of killing and the duck shooting season is from September 1 until January 31. The duck was originally domesticated in China well over 2,000 years ago. Almost all domesticated duck in the western regions stem from the mallard duck, although some breeds are more suited to egg laying such as the Indian runner. Duck eggs, although not commonly used in most kitchens, make excellent eating and are also superb for baking due to them having a proportionally larger yolk than hen’s eggs. Duck eggs should always be consumed well cooked due to salmonella risks associated with the eggs of water fowl. The Galway market is the place to find fresh organic duck eggs, and if you get an opportunity to pick up a dozen don’t hesitate to give them a go.
There are a number of producers of duck eggs in Galway, and for fresh Galway duck meat try Barlow’s farm located in Glinsk, Ballymoe, Co Galway, e-mail [email protected]
Duck meat tends to dry out if over cooked and is best served pink.
To simply roast a duck, season the duck with salt and pepper. Pre-heat your oven to 220C or 425F, gas mark 7. Cook a duck weighing 1.23kg for around 35 minutes in the oven, which should result in the bird being cooked pink. For well done cook the duck a further 15 minutes with the heat reduced to 170C.