Will My Girlfriend Eat a Plate of Divers?

Tonight I will do something that some of you may equate with suicide: I'm going to hand my girlfriend, Amanda, a plate of diving ducks and tell her to dig in. Now, before you scroll to the comments section and type in, "You're crazy, Wintersteen!!!" let me explain. I did not arrive at this stage overnight. Rather, I carefully prepared my girlfriend's wild-game palate by starting with more delectable fare: grilled elk tenderloin, breaded pheasant parmesan, fried quail and sautéed wood ducks and mallards.

Those meals are easy and delicious. Who could possibly screw up quail or elk? Divers, though, are more tricky. They're tasty in the proper hands (especially the pochards: canvasbacks, redheads, bluebills and ringnecks), but rush the preparation or overcook them and they’re enough to make you gag.

There are a few tricks I like to employ:

--I breast most of my divers, removing all skin, fat, bloodshot meat and connective tissue. (When I pluck them, I like to use this simple roast diver recipe from Delta Waterfowl.)

--Soak the breasts in salt water for three hours. This draws out the blood, which can give the meat a gamey flavor.

--Place the breasts in marinade (I like Italian or teriyaki), cover and refrigerate 4-6 hours. The acidic properties of the marinade will tenderize the breasts. Divers tend to be tougher than dabblers.

--Pan sear the breasts on each side for a few seconds. Finish them in the oven at 300 degrees for 5-7 minutes, careful to ensure they don’t go one iota beyond medium rare. Unlike chicken, ducks should always have a red center.

An alternative, which I've chosen for tonight, is to prepare a diver stir fry. Last night I cut up a couple bluebill and ringneck breasts into bite-size pieces and placed them in a teriyaki marinade. Next I’ll stir fry them with fresh veggies, serve them atop white rice and pray that Amanda’s first bite doesn’t result in my face getting slapped.

Call me overly optimistic, but I think she’ll like the bluebills and ringers just fine. Why, maybe next week I can see how she does on buffleheads. Then it's on to ruddies! My fellow duck hunters, I am on the verge of obtaining something we all want: someone to help eat the divers!


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1 Response to Will My Girlfriend Eat a Plate of Divers?

Amanda wrote:
April 15, 2010

Kyle, I went home for lunch to enjoy the leftover duck stirfry (and walk your Springer), only to find that you had taken the leftovers for your lunch. Please make it again.