Wild Food: Hunters Eat Salad, Too.

There hasn’t been a lot of action around the house of late. Matt’s pushing really hard to get things done on the Ditch Boat (to the exclusion of every other task but work), and en route to Milwaukee a week ago Sunday, my kayak rack blew off my car on I94. Excellent. No outdoorsing for us, really.

This past weekend, we were invited to a 4th of July party thrown by the family of one of Matt’s college buddies. It was down in Wilmette, Illinois on Lake Michigan. I contemplated bringing a fishing pole, but opted not to. We ate and socialized, and camped on the beach. It was a pretty decent time.

Lake Michigan under steely gray skies.

Lake Michigan under steely gray skies.

SAMSUNG

Sunset on the beach, facing north-ish

Sunset on the beach, facing north-ish

 

Waves by firelight. The lake water is definitely still cold.

Waves by firelight. The lake water is definitely still cold. Sources say about 45-50F, with some areas in the 30s.

So, when we got back, Matt dove right back into doing his work on the boat (of course). I did a bunch of yardwork, and decided a nice, light dinner was in order, after Maxwell Street Polish, hotdogs, and french fries all the night before. So after looking around at a few recipe ideas, I set out the last duck we had from last year, and picked up salad materials.

 

Arugula, watercress, duck breast, green pepper, zucchini, artichoke hearts, pickled beets.

Arugula, watercress, duck breast, green pepper, zucchini, artichoke hearts, pickled beets.

I started with watercress to go along with the idea of “if it grows together, it goes together”. I added the arugula because I like it. I also threw in some baby red leaf romaine from the garden. So I had to sear the duck, the zucchini, and the peppers.

The skin turned nice and crisp.

The skin turned nice and crisp.

Fried zucchini

Fried zucchini

Rare duck breast

Rare duck breast

After that, it was time to assembled the whole lot. I went with a nice, simple olive oil vinaigrette for dressing.

I like my salads to be loaded down with other veggies.

I like my salads to be loaded down with other veggies.

It was good. I had seconds. I’ll probably have more for lunch today, too.

We’re really hoping to make it down to Illinois again next weekend, only this time to my home town. We’re planning to go back after asian carp in the Illinois River.

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4 thoughts on “Wild Food: Hunters Eat Salad, Too.

  1. How did you season the duck? How long did you sear it on each side? Do you save the carcass for stock or something? Deerslayer has been talking about getting some ducks this season. I’ll be picking your brain for ideas.

    • When I grill or sear the breasts, I only use salt and pepper. Since I like them rare, they only go down for a few minutes per side, skin side down first. I got my technique from Hank Shaw’s website. This is his tutorial for it, which I just adapted to cook them to rare http://honest-food.net/2009/01/04/how-to-cook-a-duck-breast/

      And I do keep the carcass for every bird- duck stock is outstanding. I like it with wild rice (which we can harvest ourselves up north), or with nice big flour dumplings (I use gramma’s recipe that I call her “brain noodles”) or little ones like German spaetzle. It’s also pretty good made into creamy potato soup.

      The thing with most wild ducks is they’re pretty small. We don’t see many canvasbacks here, unless we were to go hunt on the Mississippi. Mostly teals, mallards, and wood ducks. So I use two carcasses for stock, generally. Plus, I’ll hang on to the necks of Canada geese (they’re loooooong) and ducks if I plan to roast a bird whole, and they go into the stock, too. You can also render any excess skin for the fat, which is excellent to cook in or reserved to make into dumplings.

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