Beyond Confit: 10 Must-Try Duck Dishes Across America

By Kelly Dobkin  |  January 20, 2014

Is duck fat the new pork belly? The flavor-packed, versatile ingredient is everywhere these days, from duck fat fries to cocktails and poutine. Today, we take a look at some of the ways in which the classic winter protein is being used in some unique preparations across America. Check them out in the slide show below. 

  • Duck Fat Poached Swordfish, The Optimist, Atlanta, GA

    At Ford Fry's seafood hot spot The Optimist in Atlanta, executive chef Adam Evans serves an inspired, playful menu that highlights sustainable seafood and local produce. His duck-fat-poached swordfish is served with Georgia peach, basil and garlic-chile relish. While duck is not the main event in the dish, the duck fat imparts a depth of flavor to the flaky fish that contrasts well with the bright notes from the basil and peach.

  • Duck and Waffles, Distilled, NYC

    Chef Shane Lyon's twist on the classic Southern dish sets fried pieces of tender confit duck on top of a fluffy French-toast-style waffle. It's served with whipped honey butter, drizzled with smoked chile maple syrup and garnished with Thai basil for freshness.

  • Sitting Down For Dinner, Decoy, NYC

    This brand-new eatery beneath the trendy West Village Chinese restaurant Red Farm is devoted to all things duck - they even have a cocktail that utilizes the ingredient. The Sitting Down For Dinner is made with fat-washed George Dickel, lemon, egg white and red wine.

  • Duck Confit Cinnamon Roll, Comme Ca, Las Vegas, NV

    Chefs David Myers' Vegas outpost of his LA hotspot is helmed by executive chef Brian Howard who has dreamed up a sweet-savory duck combo you could have never predicted. For their duck confit cinnamon roll, they combine savory duck confit with the comfort-food classic and top it with smoked bacon frosting, raspberry compote. Let's hope Cinnabon doesn't get any ideas...

  • Duck Poutine, The Corner Office, Denver, CO

    At The Corner Office in Denver, a restaurant and martini bar featuring globally inspired dishes, chef Rich Byers utilizes duck in the restaurant’s Duck Poutine, the popular Quebecois dish of fries, gravy and cheese curds. The fatty duck enhances the richness of the dish, creating the perfect comfort dish to combat the winter chills.

  • Duck Fat Tart, DBGB, NYC

    Duck fat in a dessert? At Daniel Boulud's popular DBGB, pastry chef Mymi Eberhardt replaces butter with duck fat in her Duck Fat Tart made with a duck fat sablé crust, kumquat curd, bittersweet chocolate sorbet and candied kumquats. 

  • Sorghum Roasted Duck, The Hive, Bentonville, AR

    At The Hive, executive chef Matt McClure showcases the culinary culture of the High South through his refined, country cuisine. McClure offers a Sorghum Roasted Duck - to make the duck, he salts and cures it for two days, and then it is rinsed and dried for two days. It is then poached in a sorghum bath and roasted until the skin becomes a dark mahogany.

  • Duck Confit Scrapple, Proof on Main, Louisville, KY

    At Proof on Main, the acclaimed restaurant housed in the 21c Museum Hotel Louisville, executive chef Levon Wallace creates a soulful, Southern menu that pays homage to the sustainable agriculture and produce of the region. Currently, Wallace puts his own spin on the Pennsylvania delicacy, scrapple, on the restaurant's brunch menu by making it with duck confit and serving it with fried eggs, kumquat marmalade and hot sauce.

  • Peking Duck Pancakes, Chi Lin, Los Angeles

    Chef Tyson Wong takes no shortcuts and painstakingly follows a time-honored procedure to make his high-end, gourmet version of Peking duck. First he blows air into the duck to puff up its skin (thereby separating it from the fat); then he rinses the duck with a maltose syrup mixture that gives the skin its signature crispness upon roasting and hangs and dries the bird for eight hours in a refrigerator kept at the right temperature and humidity; and, finally, roasts the duck in two stages (for a total cooking time of about an hour). 

    As per tradition, the duck is presented to guests before carving and served tableside. It’s served with thin, small, wheat-flour pancakes, made in-house, topped with plum sauce, and combined with fresh spring onion and julienned cucumber.

  • Duck, Duck, Goose, Kabocha, in Chicago, IL

    At Japanese brasserie Kabocha, executive chef Shin Thompson has fun with both ingredients and wordplay with the dish Duck, Duck, Goose. The plate features duck confit, seared duck breast, foie gras, rosti potato and gooseberry jam.