While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
Lucky ducks! January 18 is National Peking Duck Day.
Few dishes can claim to be loved by figures as opposite as Henry Kissinger and Fidel Castro. Peking duck has even inspired poems and songs about its crispy skin and succulent flesh.
Roast duck has been a Chinese specialty since before the year 600. It wasn’t until the mid 1300s that what we now know as Peking duck gained its full popularity.
The dish is known for its crispy skin, and is often served in two parts: skin first and the meat later. To achieve its signature crispy skin, the bird goes through a specific cooking process (which includes blowing air under the skin) before being roasted in a special hung oven.
The duck is first soaked in boiling water until the skin changes color. Then, it is seasoned and rubbed with a molasses-based glaze and left to dry for a few hours. Drying the duck ensures the skin will be nice and crispy when it’s finished cooking. The duck is vertically roasted until the skin is a dark golden brown and traditionally carved tableside.
Typical side dishes for Peking duck include Mandarin pancakes, scallions, sliced cucumber and hoisin sauce.
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