Simple Peking Duck
|Sesame oil||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Water||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
|Honey||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
1. Have a whole duck wet-picked and dressed, with the head and neck retained and the skin kept completely intact.
2. Tie the neck tightly with string. Sew up or skewer the bottom opening. In the side of the neck below the string, cut a small slit insert a straw and blow air under the skin, until entire duck is inflated.
3. Suspend duck over a basin, with an electric fan set nearby and let dry 1 hour.
4. Bring water to a boil. Scald duck until its skin is almost white: either by pouring boiling water over the suspended bird, or immersing the duck in water about 1 minute. Drain well; dry with paper toweling.
5. Bring remaining water to a boil. Then stir in honey to dissolve. Rub diluted honey over duck skin, saturating it completely.
6. Suspend duck in a cool, airy place to dry until its skin is hard. (This will take 2 to 3 hours with an electric fan; 8 to 10 hours without one.) To suspend duck: bend a heavy piece of wire (about 10 inches long) at each end to form a hook. Hook duck through the tail and hang it up. Spread the wings apart by wedging a bamboo chopstick between them. Place a pan underneath to catch the drippings.
7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove all but the topmost rack and suspend the duck vertically from it, using the wire hook again. Place a foil-lined drip pan underneath. Roast duck until done (about 1 1/2 hours), basting with sesame oil at 15-minute intervals. (To prevent shrinkage during roasting, place a bamboo chopstick horizontally inside the duck cavity. If the skin browns unevenly, cover overdone sections with pieces of foil.)
8. Remove duck from oven. While the skin is still sizzling and crisp, carefully cut it off with a sharp knife in 2-inch squares or in 1- by 2-inch rectangles. (Leave as little meat attached to the skin as possible.)