How do I top my 300th milestone recipe? With the true star of The O.C. – I feel like I’ve said that most days … but I mean it this time – my dear friend Melinda Clarke.
Yes, I love them all dearly – well, maybe not always Tate – but every great show needs a villain you love to hate and Julie Cooper-Nichol wouldn’t have been able to pack the same punch without the stunning performance of my bestie.
I first met Mindy through her dad John when I was working as a writer on Days of our Life – which I got through Vytas and Aras’ pops via time travel. Side note: I was the one that came up with such wonderful storylines as Eileen Davidson playing seventeen roles, the Salem Stalker and the classic Marlena is possessed by the devil.
Anywho – I quickly befriended the broader Clarke family and knew that Mindy was destined for big things, making it my life’s work to see her become the star I knew she could be.
I haven’t seen much of her this year, so it was so nice to be able to have her over for an extended visit as we whipped up a Roast Melinda Duck.
I had never roasted a duck before and obviously was terrified by the entire process, so I stuck with a tried and true Jamie Oliver recipe with a few minor tweaks.
Thankfully Jamie knows his way around a bird, because this duck turned out festively fragrant, spicy and most importantly, wet & juicy.
Roast Melinda Duck
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tsp nutmeg, grated
1 orange, zested and halved
1 tbsp maple syrup
a whole duck, necks and giblets reserved and roughly chopped
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 red onions, peeled and quartered
a few stalks celery, trimmed and chopped into chunks
3 carrots, scrubbed and chopped into chunks
½ stick cinnamon
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
freshly ground sea salt & black pepper
Place the leaves from a couple of sprigs of rosemary in a mortar and pestle and mash together with the nutmeg, orange zest, a generous pinch of sea salt and some maple syrup. Rub mixture over the duck, cover and place in the fridge to baste for a few hours.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Stuff the duck’s cavity with the orange, some rosemary and the garlic. Line a baking tray with the onion, celery and carrot and toss with some olive oil, the ginger and cinnamon. Place the duck on top, drizzle with some oil and place in the oven for an hour.
Transfer the duck to a new pan – reserving the charred veggies and fat for tomorrow’s gravy – and return the duck to the oven for a further hour, or until golden and glorious.
Remove from the pan, transfer to a plate, cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving.
Devour … with some gravy and potatoes, so maybe hold off two days until you make it?