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The Story Behind the Dish: Juniper & Ivy's Whole Roasted Duck

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March 6, 2019
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From the farmer’s field to the chef’s hands, ingredients transform into memorable meals. And if any meal deserves to have its story told, it’s the famed Whole Roasted Duck at Juniper & Ivy.  

“This is was one of the first dishes we put on the menu with our current chef team,” explains Executive Chef Anthony Wells. “Anytime you can serve an animal whole and show off multiple of its delicious parts, it is exciting as a cook, and two years late we still get excited when we send one out.”

Though the accompaniments and sauces change seasonally on this menu staple, the free-range Pekin ducks from Mary’s Ducks in Sonoma County have remained the star.

Chef Wells dry ages the ducks for one to two weeks to intensify the umami flavor and make the duck’s skin extra crispy.

Once aged, Wells confits and fries the legs and wings before tossing them in kung pao sauce. Meanwhile, the body is honey-glazed and roasted in the oven.

The breasts are thin sliced, and thus a bit more civilized to eat, but there is something especially satisfying about digging into the sauce-covered wings with your hands in the middle of a fine dining restaurant.

While the duck is the centerpiece, the supporting actors are just as important. The crunchy bed of quinoa from Kandarian Organics is prepared two ways—steamed and fried—to create a subtle contrast of textures.

The vegetables on the plate change daily based on seasonality and availability from local farms like Garden of Her Produce, Stehly Farms, and Girl and Dug.

To finish the dish, yunnan chiles add their signature kick, fresh onion brightens, and chopped cashews from Farm to Table provide another layer of texture. The crowning glory is a sunny side up duck egg from Gone Straw farms.

“The duck is simply romantic,” Executive Chef Wells explains. “It is a dish meant to be shared and enjoyed with someone you care about.”

Taste the Duck at Juniper & Ivy

2228 Kettner Boulevard, Little Italy

ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS
Michelle Stansbury
Michelle Stansbury is a food enthusiast and the founder of Eat, Drink, Be SD, sharing the best restaurants, bars, and happenings in San Diego. Misuse of the word "literally" drives her figuratively insane.
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