As cold-water creatures, ducks are well insulated, which is a nice way of saying that they have a lot of fat. Without proper attention to that fat, duck skin can cook up flabby. To avoid this, you need to score the skin and slowly render most of the fat. Not only does this method produce nice, crisp skin, but it also gives you duck fat to save for other uses, like roasting or sautéing potatoes.
Photos by: Scott Phillips
Step One: With a sharp knife, cut a diamond-shaped cross-hatch pattern through the skin into the fat, making sure not to cut into the flesh.
Step Two: Slowly cook the duck skin side down over medium heat until much of the fat has melted out and the skin is rich amber-brown and crisp. Then turn and finish cooking the duck.