The Story Behind the Food
I love hunting with my buddies, but also look forward to a couple solo duck hunts on the water each October here in North Dakota. As I was prepared for a Saturday morning hunt, my 6 year old daughter begged me to come along. I begrudgingly agreed since it was going to be a brisk 36 degrees F at shooting light, expecting her to be cold and miserable and want to quit 5 minutes into the hunt. I packed her snow pants and winter coat, gloves and her favorite pink "Frozen" hat, and quickly realized that if this was going to be a regular occurrence, my wife and I would need to invest in some kids' size camouflage clothing.
The next morning at 5:00 a.m., I woke her up and carried her to my pickup truck and tucked her in the backseat. She was exhausted but excited to join me, and didn't stop talking the entire hour drive to our spot. Just before we arrived, she commented, "They are so amazing!"
"What's that?" I asked.
"The stars. They are so beautiful out here!" she said with awe and amazement as she stared out her window and up at the glittering sky.
I set us up on a partially flooded gravel road that was now closed due to the swollen cattail sloughs on either side. I planned to just do some pass shooting from this spot vs. set up a bunch of decoys, expecting the hunt to be short with a young child in tow. But my daughter sat comfortably in the chair I brought her, snuggled up in her winter gear, and covered with a piece of camouflage burlap I tried using as a type of blanket to hide her from the birds flying overhead. As I watched a group of teal speeding toward me, low over the water, I could hear her behind me opening up the cheese and crackers I had packed.
After 45 minutes we had a mixed bag of three ducks - a spoonbill, a green-winged teal, and a bufflehead. The daily limit here in North Dakota is 6 birds, and I was confident we could come home with that many. Then I looked over and saw that my shivering red head had dropped her gloves in the muddy water. "I'm cold, dad."
"No problem," I replied. "Let's pack it up and go have some hot chocolate."
As we walked back toward the truck, my daughter carrying all three birds, I experienced the moment that made the whole day worthwhile. My daughter held up the spoonbill in her hand that had suddenly resurrected like Lazarus and opened it's eyes. "Dad, are we letting this one go or taking him home?"
"We're taking him home to eat him," I replied.
"You hear that little guy," she said. "My dad is going to cook you, and boy will you be tasty."
This recipe is that "tasty" meal we made with those ducks!
- 6 to 8 ounces duck breasts, gone over with meat tenderizer two or three times on each side
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 8 ounce artisan flatbread
- 1/4 cup ALDI's Bacon Cheese Dip (or similar spreadable cheese)
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup green and/or red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 6 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1. Marinate duck in soy sauce, olive oil, and minced garlic for a minimum of four hours or overnight.
2. When ready to make the recipe, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray both side of flatbread with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until slightly crispy and golden brown.
3. Meanwhile, cook duck in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until the tope end of rare (125 degrees). Remove meat from pan and let rest on cutting board before slicing across the grain into thin slices. Set aside.
4. Spread flatbread with Bacon Cheese Dip. Top with mozzarella, mushrooms, bell pepper, red onion, and cherry tomatoes. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with fresh basil or parley if desired and serve immediately.