It hit 80 degrees last week. I know this because I was standing on top of a mountain, sweating like crazy, cursing myself for not wearing a hat. In many parts of the country it's still snowing, but here it's hat season. A couple more months and I'll be doing my Jonah thing, and sitting under a bush in a bad mood (yes, I just used a biblical reference, and yes, I have been known to collapse under a bush until my body cools down enough to keep going). I can't quite understand why it is that people LIKE the heat. It just puts me in a bad mood. I'm in a bad mood just thinking about it. This, by the way, is why Bikram yoga never worked for somebody like me, because after 20 minutes of standing in that room I thought I was going to die. And thinking about hot weather AND Bikram yoga turns my bad mood into a completely foul mood. Let's just hope that nobody comes knocking on my door to sell me something. And in the mean time I'll turn my mind to duck to try and calm down. I made a duck the other night. A spruce duck, to be exact. Since most of the country is still under snow (*sob*), I figured it might be good to play around with the rest of the tree too, not just the tips, to give you guys an adequate analysis of whether or not it's usable. The good news is that using the regular old needles infuses meat with a delicious flavour, and then you're left with a pint of the most delicious spruce-infused duck fat to fry your eggs in for weeks to come. The bad news is that I don't have any pictures because I ate it all too fast. So this will have to do instead:
about 1/2 cup chopped up spruce needles, plus a few spruce branches for a bed
Preheat oven to 425.
Put the spruce branches on a roasting rack. Place the duck on top, and score the surface of the duck lightly in a criss-cross pattern, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and chopped spruce needles.
Roast at 425 for 15 minutes, then flip the bird, scoring the underside and cooking for another 15. Reduce the temperature to 350, and cook for another hour, flipping half way. Check it because all ducks are different sizes :). A knife inserted in the leg should produce clear-ish liquid, not blood gushing out. You can always stick your finger in there and see-- if you scream "OW" and pull it out fast then it's probably ready.
Serve with Butter's Spruce Gremolata.