One duck + six guests = One special dish needed
I'm planning a dinner to celebrate my impending kitchen redo. I have a duck in the freezer that I'd like to put to use that night, but I will have six people at the table. Obviously, roasted duck as the main course is out.
My initial idea was a first course: ravioli, served two or three per person in a very rich, super-clarified duck broth studded with tiny balls of carrot, zucchini and turnip.
Then I also thought about taking the easy route and just making a little batch of duck rillettes to pass with the aperitif. A little cliched maybe?
Duck stock is wonderful, as long as you make ahead of time for defatting. May want to use the bones only for the stock, and supplement some meat for making broth with some chicken. I like the idea of filling the raviolis with a mixture of duck meat scraps and an earthy mix of mushrooms, cooked down (does duxelle make a good ravioli filling?) The visual appeal of broth, a few raviolis and bits of vegetables seems lovely.
You may consider rendering the skin to make cracklings to place on a salad (as you might use bacon) or as a garnish for some fresh green beans.
Do save the rendered duck fat for special-treat roasted potatoes or latkes. One of those actually might make a good side dish or appetizer....
With the meat itself, depending on how much meat there is, you could sear the breasts and slice thinly, make rillettes with the thigh/leg meat, and serve both atop salad. I like the richness of duck paired with roasted red pears, toasted nuts (like pecans) and a little blue cheese, though the flavors might seem too autumn-ish? Something a little more summery might be a duck analogue to nicoise, with steamed green beans, steamed new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, etc.
Incidentally, would you consider going an Asian route?
Anyway, initial thoughts....interested to see that others suggest!
ETA: If you have the fridge space, curing your own duck proscuitto might be a risk, but sounds like it would produce a great payoff:
Roast it, take the meat off the bones, render the fat from ths skin, and toss the shredded meat with a mixture of 4 tb soy sauce (dark is good here), 2 tb Chinese black vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tb sesame oil, 1 tb white wine or Scotch, some black pepper (mix this together first and adjust to taste). Add 3 scallions cut in long slivers, 2 tb fresh ginger also cut in thin julienne, a hot chili ditto if desired. Toss well and serve on a bed of watercress or arugula, topped with a few pitted sour cherries, or stoned fresh lychees, or filets/segments of blood or other orange (with a very few of lemon), or peaches/nectarines/apricots, or pomegranate seeds - and small strips of the duck cracklings.
Roast the duck in the oven..(on a grill/BBQ pit etc would be better) remove the meat..make a stock/broth from the carcass, and use it as a base for duck gumbo...add the duck meat back at the very end of cooking...Serve with rice, salad, bread, wine, and a dessert.
Bonus points if you add a good smoked sausage at the very end!!!! --- Look for Smoked Duck and Andouille Gumbo recipes for inspiration!
Have Fun & Enjoy!
Hate to bust the bubble here, but one roast duck is not enough for 6 people, esp. if they are all adults with reasonable appetites. Even Julia has warned of this before.
Yes, roast ahead of time, and make duck rillettes with the fat & skin and duck tacos or mini quesadillas as appetizers. Then serve something lighter for the main course.
Six people, one duck? Well, better duck than loaves and fishes! The first thing that pops to mind for me is something Asian... Maybe duck egg foo yong, or duck lo mein. The duck lo mein with cabage and onions in the mix could be quite good! Or using the duck in small pieces, it can make a nice duck risotto. Lately I'm much taken with making "risotto" with orzo pasta. A slivered duck sauce with black olives and white vermouth over pasta could be good. Lots of possibilities, so little duck. '-)
Whatever you decide, have a great time!
OP knows one duck won't serve six as main course, says as much. Duck rillettes strike me as a treat, not a cliche. But other posters' ideas for first course are good too. I'd be a happy guest eating duck tacos, quesadillas, or a duck-and-wild mushroom tart. Or Buttertart's duck rolled up in scallion pancakes. And you can make a nice gumbo for six with one duck.
If you have the time to make a duck ragu ahead of time you could use it in a lasagne, with fresh pasta, the ragu, bechamel, parmigiano- the whole bit. This way you could do it as a main course instead of a first. You could even do something similar if you don't have the time to make the lasagne, which is to serve the duck ragu with pappardelle and then drizlle some bechamel over the top.