Duck is an exceptionally rich poultry dish commonly roasted in a hot oven to release its natural fats and crisp its tasty skin. Duck's dark, silky meat and crunchy skin are best complemented by sweetly scented, delicately flavoured fruit and vegetable accompaniments and starchy side dishes that provide a savoury, light contrast.
Mix chunks of your favourite fresh tropical fruits such as mango, pineapple and papaya with a handful of chopped onion and dress the mixture with a combination of orange juice, lime juice, cilantro, habanero chilli and salt. Let the mixture chill for at least four hours to let the flavours mingle. Slowly simmer diced pears with dried cranberries in a mixture of brown sugar, cider vinegar, fresh ginger root, salt and allspice for a flavourful chutney that accents the taste of duck.
Peas and Carrots
Simmer sugar snap peas until crisp-tender, toss with butter, salt and pepper and top with a generous grating of orange peel. Give roasted or steamed baby carrots an Asian flare with a topping of toasted sesame seeds seasoned with roasted sesame oil, minced fresh ginger, five-spice powder, salt, pepper and sugar.
Rice and Potatoes
Sauté chopped onion and fresh shiitake mushrooms in oil or butter and lightly brown short grain rice in the mixture. Add a couple of minced spicy sausages and use a mixture of white wine and chicken broth for the rice cooking liquid. When the rice is done, top with minced fresh parsley. If you are a wild rice fan, mix cooked rice with pieces of slow roasted sweet onion for a simple and savoury duck side dish. Purée roasted yams and season with unsweetened coconut milk, butter, brown sugar, ground ginger, salt and pepper and serve alongside duck. Make a simple side dish from whipped russet potatoes combined with cloves of roasted garlic.
Green and Yellow Options
Roast medium size asparagus spears lightly coated with olive oil in a dish next to the duck. Use a potato peeler to shave fresh Parmesan or Romano on the spears just before serving. Halve and seed acorn squash, place cut side down in a baking dish with about 1 cup apple cider in the bottom and roast until tender. Flip them over, brush with melted butter and top with a combination of brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Bake about five minutes more until the topping bubbles.