This was a first for me, but something I was very excited to try. I had only ever had duck a handful of times before and here it can be excellent if prepared properly. I used a hybrid of Bittman recipes to prepare the fowl. It is definitely more complicated than a chicken, though the ingredients are pretty basic.
1/4 cup of soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450.
Take paring knife and poke the bird's breasts and back making cuts a little less than 1/4 inch deep, this is how you render the fat. Place the bird in a deep roasting pan breast side down. Baste the bird with soy sauce and plenty of pepper and place in oven.
After about 20 minutes remove the bird from the oven and flip it over. Baste again with the soy sauce and sprinkle with pepper. place back in oven for about 40 minutes or an internal temp of 180 degrees. The temp has been a matter of discussion on a duck, I don't believe you have the same salmonella risks with duck as you do with chicken and the duck breast is preferable a little rare.
Let the duck rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.
What I did was where I'm going to run into problems. I have heard that duck fat is sublime to cook with, even better than pork fat. So while the duck was cooking I sliced up three potatoes and diced a couple of good sized shallots. I took some of the duck fat and put it into a frying pan and sauteed it all up with some salt and pepper.
These were some of the best fried potatoes I have ever had. The duck fat added an extra layer of flavor and they just popped. I know they sell duck fat and I'm afraid of what this may do to me. They were way too good.
As for the duck, it was also enjoyable. I'll do it again and experiment with other recipes. I'm thinking of doing a duck confit, but I need to be in a place where I'm working out more first.