Evening grill at Strysö Sweden 2023
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro & , JE Nilsson 2023
Even during the cooler Nordic summers when temperatures occasionally dip to 5°C, the lure of the grill remains irresistible. With the lingering twilight offering extended hours of daylight, every moment is an opportunity to ignite the grill and dive into a world of tantalizing tastes. Recently, we embarked on a delectable culinary expedition, blending four distinct recipes to create a sumptuous grilled duck breast dish with a Peking Duck marinade.
Peking Duck, a Chinese gastronomic gem, is esteemed for its crisp, glistening skin and succulent meat. Our gastronomic adventures in Beijing during The Swedish exhibition of Chinese Porcelain at the Palace Museum, Beijing, 2005 in 2005 led us to a charming, time-worn restaurant. It was akin to a hidden gem, a modest exterior leading to a vibrant inner courtyard, the air redolent with the aroma of roasting ducks. This experience left a lasting impression, and years later, inspired me to recreate this esteemed dish at home. But the traditional preparation can be daunting, so we’ve simplified the process for a casual summer evening grill.
Drawing inspiration from various online sources, including a honey-infused marinade recipe recommended by the New York Times, we designed (experimented with) our summer-centric Peking Duck recipe. For this, we used two duck breasts, approximately 400g each. For the marinade, we married two tablespoons of local pre-summer flowers honey harvested along the west coast of Sweden, with a teaspoon of light brown sugar and five-spice powder, plus two tablespoons of soy sauce. We seasoned it with sea salt to taste and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. At the grill table, we had a bottle of beer, for the grill-master, not the duck breasts. Lastly, we added half a cup of hoisin sauce and a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil to complete the marinade. After a generous mopping of this over the duck breasts, onto a pre-heated cast iron plate they went on the grill!
As the duck breasts grilled, the marinade worked its magic, creating a splendid mahogany sheen on the finished dish. Although not as visually stunning as a full lacquered duck, these grilled duck breasts were compelling enough for us to want to have them immediately savored in wraps.
In my opinion, the addition of pre-summer flowers Swedish farmed honey infused a unique layer of flavor into this grilled Peking Duck recipe. An authentic Sino-Swedish duck dish crafted in here along the Swedish west coast. These grilled duck breasts with Peking Duck marinade perfectly encapsulates the fusion of diverse cuisines on the Nordic summer grill, including the very popular, very Nordic, shish kebab.