If there is a more unloved game bird than the sea duck, I don’t know what it is. Treated as if they were puddle ducks, they earn that bad rep. But take them as they are and sea ducks can be good eating. Here’s what you need to know.
Diver ducks have a reputation as smelly, fishy tasting birds. Sometimes that’s true. But as I found out last week, even a clam-eating, saltwater duck can be magnificent at the table. Believe me, I am as shocked to write this as you are to hear it.
I’ve seen a lot of hunters “breast out” a lot of birds this hunting season, leaving the legs and wings for the coyotes – or even just tossing them in the trash. It pains me to see this. It’s my hope, in my own small way, to convince those hunters who do that to change their minds.
Whether you call them spooines, spoontang or northern shovellers, these ducks are common in California – and a hunter who ignores them does so at his peril. Until Wednesday, that would be me.
A duck hunting trip on the San Francisco Bay was radically different from the sort of duck hunting we normally do. But it was a thrilling experience matched by the challenge of cooking sea ducks.
Canada geese get a bad rap. Sky carp. Stinky, arrogant hissing birds. Yeah, Canadas can be nasty. But cooking a real, wild, Canada goose offers pleasures other waterfowl simply lack.