Little Bites: Aaron McCloud of Cedar’s Spiced Duck Cracklings with Red Curried Ketchup


Oftentimes chefs don’t want to cook another meal when they get home after an arduous 12-hour stretch behind the burners. But throwing together a comforting snack to help take the edge off the day is another proposition entirely. These scrumptious nibbles don’t require a degree from the Culinary Institute of America to make, but they’re worthy of winning a Top Chef Quickfire Challenge.

This week, Cedar’s executive chef Aaron McCloud shares his personal recipe for spice-laden duck cracklings paired with a curry ‘n’ citrus infused ketchup. These crunchy quackers aren’t anything like you’ll find in the chip aisle of the supermarket, but they’re so good that you may not be able to pick up a bag of Doritos ever again.


Spiced Duck Cracklings with Red Curried Ketchup


  • 6 duck breast skins
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons of “The Duck Rub” (Mix together a pinch of each of the following in a pan and saute until very aromatic: coriander, cumin, allspice, fennel seed, star anise, juniper, fresh thyme, mace, nutmeg, dried thyme, cinnamon, Aromat, cayenne pepper, espelette pepper, Spanish paprika, cardamom, yellow mustard seed, rosemary, bay leaf, kosher salt, and brown sugar. Take this toasted mix and grind it finely.)
  • 1 cup Heinz ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper



1. Put duck breast skins in a heavy bottomed pan with water. Cook on medium heat until water reduces and fat begins to render.

2. Reduce heat and let the fat render out until crispy

3. Toss in “The Duck Rub,” distribute it evenly until all the cracklings are coated and remove from heat.

4. For the curried ketchup, mix ketchup and curry paste, then finely grate the lime to add its zest before squeezing its juice into the mixture. Season as needed with salt and pepper.

5. Serve like chips ‘n’ dip by putting the ketchup in a small bowl at the center of a plate with the cracklings around it.


  • Wasim Islam

    fun to see that the photo that I tool for the dish “Little Bites: Spiced Duck cracklings with Red Curried ketchup” is published! :). It is really a fun and yummy dish! We were the first one to try it and liked it a lot! :D