“There’s nothing I can do to stop you,” Rory said when I laid out my plan to make Peking duck, which entailed borrowing a neighbor’s air compressor to detach the skin and fat. When I brought my duck home from the Chinese market, I realized that I couldn’t figure out where I should stick the pump. The recipe instructions in Eileen Yin-Fei Low’s Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking did not give me enough guidance. The duck was casting a gentle gaze at me in the fridge, and I had to figure out what to do with the dear bird.
I perused my Chinese cookbooks to discover a Sichuan preparation of crispy duck, which Fuchsia Dunlop says is the duck that most Chinese restaurants abroad actually serve. What I've enjoyed hasn't been roasted, but deep fried! Maybe that's why they get the duck to the table relatively quickly.My friend Carl Chu, a Chinese food expert and author of the Chinese Food Finder series , verified Fuchsia’s claim by saying that Peking duck at most Chinese restaurants are mostly made in advance and then deep-fried to refresh and serve. So I gave up on using the air compressor pump (Rory was relieved) and embarked on a weekend of Sichuan duck.