Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Duck Wings


Duck Wings
Originally uploaded by Gary Paradise.

While duck tongues are beginning to appear on more Chinese Restaurant menus and beyond---Sumile in Manhattan comes to mind---duck wings may seem less exotic. They're also even less likely to be on the menu at a restaurant.

My own exposure was through happenstance. Duck wings were simply there in front of me in a Styrofoam tray covered with plastic wrap at The International Market in Baltimore County's Security Square Mall. The price was about $3.00 for several pounds.

Once home and ready to cook them, I was distressed that none of my myriad cookbooks had anything to say about them. Not even Gloria Bley Miller’s Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook, with 50 pages and perhaps 100 recipes devoted to duck, offered a recipe for their wings. Nor, it seemed, did the Internet. But after some Googling, I was able to come up with a compendium of 476 chicken wing recipes that purported to include a "few" recipes for wings of other fowl. Just one of these 476 recipes, it turned out, was pertinent to duck wings. Interestingly, it was for "barbecued duck wings," courtesy of Silver Hill Foods in Monaghan Ireland.

Not surprisingly, each wing needed first to be cut into three sections at the joints. This requires a number of pretty vicious whacks with a heavy knife on a sturdy cutting board. Then you make a very basic barbecue sauce to pour over the wings before baking them for an hour. While baking, it’s important to turn and baste the wings occasionally.

4 DUCK WINGS

2 1/2 OUNCES TOMATO KETCHUP

2 1/2 OUNCES WATER

2 TABLESPOONS VINEGAR

2 TABLESPOONS SUGAR

2 CLOVES CRUSHED GARLIC

Heat oven to 400 or a little more. Combine all ingredients except wings in a saucepan over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Place wings in a roasting tin and pour sauce over them. Cook for approximately 1 hour, turning and basting frequently.

The reason duck wings are not popular is because they are tough. To understand, contemplate how much more frequently a duck, as opposed to a chicken, hardens the muscles of its wings by flying.

The scrapings remaining in the baking pan were as delicious as the wings themselves. Duck wings, while yielding relatively little fat, yielded just enough to gloriously enhance the flavor of the somewhat charred remnants of baked basic barbecue sauce that were left behind.

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