I haven't yet had the courage or the time to take on a Peking duck, but this simple recipe for roast duck has worked well, and I like how it turned out. With roast duck, the things you really want are a good skin, and you want to reserve as much of the fat as possible. And especially, you want to avoid that heavy, gamey taste that makes a lot of people shy away from roast duck. Actually, much of the reason why that heavy taste happens is because the meat is overcooked. Duck is a game bird, not raised on farms like chicken or turkey, and so it has a lot more muscle and dark meat. But even though people seem to think roast duck is a hard dish to do, it's really not so hard when you just use some temperature control.
Pans needed: 10 inch cast iron skillet, for roasting the duck. A heat resistant glass or metal container or bowl for reserving the duck fat.
The duck needs to be thawed out, though it doesn't have to be at room temperature. Dry the duck off with paper towels, including the inner cavity. Place the duck on a plate or platter, uncovered, and place it in the refrigerator overnight to dry the skin. Many Oriental restaurants have their ducks hanging in the window, and this is done to help dry out the skin. That's why here, we're letting the duck rest uncovered in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare a glaze for the duck, with kosher salt, ground white pepper, and honey mixed together.
Place the duck into a cast iron skillet, and coat the skin with the honey glaze. Rub salt and pepper into the cavity.
Roast the duck at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until the breast temperature reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit, about 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, move the duck to a plate or platter. Cover the duck with foil, and let it rest under the foil while the oven temperature is raised to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Drain the duck fat from the skillet into a glass or metal container. Uncover the duck and place it back into the skillet. Roast the duck at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
Move the duck to the serving platter, cover with foil once again, and let it rest for five minutes. The second roasting will produce more duck fat, and you can then add this extra fat to the metal container. Strain the fat through a strainer, and store the duck fat in the refrigerator for use with future cooking.
Uncover the duck, carve and serve.