1poundChinese wheat noodles(see above for alternatives)
1roast farmed duck,or 2 wild ducks
3green onions, sliced thin
sesame oil,to taste
Set the broth in a pot and bring it to a bare simmer. Add the ginger and the star anise if using. Add soy sauce to taste.
Trim the mustard greens to pieces about 4 to 6 inches long. Remove the thickest part of the stalks.
Bring another pot of water to a boil, and add enough salt to make it taste like the sea. Get a bowl of ice water ready. Boil the mustard greens for 2 minutes, then plunge into the ice water to chill. Remove the greens and lay them on a kitchen towel.
Now boil the noodles in the same pot; usually this takes 5 minutes, but follow the instructions on the package. Move the noodles to the bowl of ice water to stop them cooking. When they are cold, drain off all the water.
Carve the roast duck. Carve off the breasts, then slice them. Carve off the legs and wings. If using a wild duck, leave them whole. If using a farmed duck or goose, separate the thigh from drumstick of the leg, and the wing at its joints. Pull of the crispy, lacquered skin from the carcass and cut into bite-sized pieces.
To serve, put noodles in everyone's soup bowl. Arrange some mustard greens on one side. Sprinkle with chopped green onion and drizzle some sesame oil on top. Arrange some duck, skin side up, on the opposite side to the greens. The moment you are ready to serve, ladle in the hot broth, taking care not to serve the pieces of ginger or anise pods.
The elements of this soup, the broth and the duck, can be made and stored ahead of time. The noodles will hold, cooked, for about 1 hour if you need to do that. If you are holding them for a while, drizzle a little sesame oil on them to prevent them all from sticking.
Keys to Success
If you can, it really helps a lot to make duck broth. It adds a lot. But homemade or really high quality broths are fine. Remember you will be drinking this broth straight from the bowl, so it ought to be tasty.
I do recommend the extra, bonus step in the "Duck" section of this recipe if you are roasting your own duck. Even though it requires that 2 day wait in the fridge, that lacquered honey skin is a show-stopper.
Pickled mustard greens are traditional, and I use them when I have them, but the freshly blanched mustard greens are more vivid and add their mustard bite to the soup. The pickled ones add a fermenty, sour note.