Wolfgang Puck smiling as he adds oil to a pan of cooking food
Even Wolfgang Puck Was Initially Stumped By Peking Duck
In the early 1980s, when Wolfgang Puck was an up-and-coming chef in Los Angeles, he says he struggled to master a dish that would soon become one of his specialties — Peking duck.
As part of a rapid-fire set of questions with Modern Luxury Angeleno, Puck admits he "threw away over 50 ducks" before getting the duck recipe right.
The dish requires multiple steps over several days to accomplish. Each step is critical to achieving the meal’s signature burnished brown crisp duck skin and moist, roasted meat.
The skin must be separated from the meat while still raw and then coated with a special sweet maltose solution to ensure browning. It must then be air-dried before cooking.
A big part of what makes Peking duck so elaborate is the treatment of the skin, as it must be painstakingly separated from the body in one piece without creating tears.
This step helps the fatty skin render easily and creates famously crisp skin. The skin is seasoned inside and out and painted with a sugary coating before air drying.