Mallard is the largest and most common of the wild ducks, followed by the smaller teal and widgeon. One mallard will serve two people comfortably; teal and widgeon are best served one per person. Wild duck has a slightly shaky reputation based on its unpredictable eating quality; at best it’s a delicious duck for roasting or stewing, at worst it’s a slightly tough specimen with an unpleasant fishy flavour. Most mallards sold for eating will have been farmed for shooting and had their natural diet supplemented with grain. As such, they’re generally a safer bet when it comes to flavour, although lack a little of the desirable gaminess that is characteristic of teal. As wild ducks have less fat than their farmed counterparts they will roast more quickly and care needs to be taken to prevent them from drying out.
The wild duck season runs from1 September to 31 January.
Article by Louisa Carter