Sylvia Carter Sylvia Carter

Carter writes a food column for Newsday.

Instead of buying salad greens and asparagus from California, you can find alternatives grown closer to home. And Long Island's famous duck can be the centerpiece of an Easter meal.

A few decades ago, many Long Island families lived on farms, or knew someone who did. And one of the local traditions, particularly in Polish families, was roast duck.

Christopher Junda tells of his grandmother Josephine Junda roasting as many as eight ducks, which she served with a sauce made of dried plums, for holiday dinners for 20 or more hearty eaters. John Ross, an East End chef who for many years owned the restaurant Ross', includes a recipe for a plum sauce made with wild beach plum jam in his book "The Food and Wine of the North Fork" (Maple Hill Press).

Tom Jurgielewicz, of Jurgielewicz Duck Farm in Moriches, remembers his grandmother Katerina Jurgielewicz, who was born outside Krakow in Poland, making kaputsa, a kind of fried sauerkraut enriched with bits of meat, to go with duck on special occasions.

Junda recalled that on the 15 acres his family once owned in Uniondale, "They were self-sufficient. ... They didn't waste anything." So duck fat was used to roast potatoes the family grew. In the early days, the Jundas got the ducks from their own backyard, but after the farm was sold, they purchased ducks from Crescent Duck Farm in Aquebogue.

Most of us don't have bushels of our own potatoes stored in a root cellar. Yet,

Under the tutelage of his grandmother and her sister Alice Lubuski, Junda also learned a thing or two about babka, a popular bread for the Easter table.

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Now, at his Aquebogue bakery, Junda's Crust & Crumbs Pastry Shop in Jamesport, Junda bakes babka year-round as well as a fine array of French-inspired pastries.

For this menu, we asked Karen Lee, who owns Sang Lee Farms in Peconic with her husband, Fred, to dream up some side dishes: a radish slaw, arugula salad and a colorful frittata made with Sang Lee's baby mustard greens, local eggs and some goat cheese from Catapano, the nearby dairy goat farm.

Still, if you feel that Easter just isn't Easter without ham, serve it along with the duck. At her bountiful table, that's exactly what Josephine Junda did.


Mustard Green Frittata With Goat Cheese


Roasted Long Island Duck With Plum-Raspberry Sauce

Roasted Potatoes

Radish Slaw

Arugula Salad With Fruit and Fresh Mint

Polish Babka

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Red and green mustard greens are colorful in this first course or side dish.

9 eggs

1/3 cup chevre (soft goat cheese)

1/2 teaspoon salt

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Freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, sliced

4 ounces mushrooms, sliced thin

1/2 pound chopped baby mustard greens, or substitute baby spinach

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together eggs and cheese, mixing well. Add salt and pepper.

2. In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, heat olive oil. Add onion and saute until soft and golden. Add mushrooms. Add mustard greens and toss to coat with oil.

3. Cook about 7 minutes longer, until greens soften and blend with other ingredients.

4. Slowly pour egg mixture over vegetables and stir carefully until mixed. Lift edges of the cooked areas to let any liquid egg run to the bottom.

5. Transfer skillet to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Long Island duck is available year-round. Christopher Junda purchased his from Crescent Duck farm in Aquebogue. Roast two or even three, depending on how many guests you have coming to dinner, and use some of the drippings from the ducks to roast potatoes.

1 large Long Island duck, about 10 pounds

2 onions

1 bunch parsley

4 ribs celery

4 carrots

1 head garlic

1 orange

1 lemon

1 cup orange juice

1 1/2 pints fresh raspberries, divided

2 cups pitted dried prunes, chopped and divided

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse duck, pat dry and place on a rack in roasting pan.

2. Coarsely cut up onions, parsley, celery, carrots, garlic, orange and lemon. Place in cavity of the duck.

3. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 350 degrees. Roast 2 to 2 1/2 hours, depending on size of duck, until skin is crisp and brown, and the inner temperature rises to 165 degrees.

4. Remove from oven and let duck rest on a platter for 15 minutes before carving. Put roasting pan on top of stove to deglaze pan. Add orange juice, 1 pint raspberries and 1 cup prunes. Cook until mixture comes to a boil. Add 1/2 cup warm water. Strain mixture into a saucepan, pressing to release juice from fruit. Place over heat, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes, or until reduced by half. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

5. Gently stir in remaining raspberries and remaining prunes. Serve sauce with roasted duck. Makes 6 servings.


This vibrant, tangy slaw is a perfect foil for duck. If you can find multicolored carrots, the slaw will look even prettier. 2 cups daikon or Korean radish, cut into matchsticks 2 cups carrots, cut into matchsticks (use a variety of carrot colors, if available)

1 1/2 cups celery, cut horizontally into 1/4-inch pieces

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 tablespoons minced shallots

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons minced candied ginger

Baby spinach, for garnish

1. Mix together daikon or radish, carrots, celery, cranberries and minced shallots.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together salt, vinegar, olive oil, mustard and pepper.

3. Toss slaw with the dressing and the candied ginger. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Serve chilled on a bed of baby spinach. Makes 8 servings.


With the rich duck and satisfying roasted potatoes, this tart salad, made with the first greenhouse arugula of the season, is a refreshing contrast.

2 large navel oranges

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 ripe mango, cut into bite-size pieces

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 pound baby arugula

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1. Using a sharp knife, peel the orange. Be sure to remove the bitter white pith. Working over a strainer set over a bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the fruit sections into the strainer. Let juice collect in the bowl, and squeeze the membranes to release all additional juice. Discard the membranes.

2. Measure 2 tablespoons of strained juice into a bowl. (You get to drink the rest.) Whisk olive oil into the juice, then whisk in salt and pepper.

3. In a large bowl, toss mango with lemon juice. Add orange sections and toss gently.

4. Add arugula, mint and red onion to the bowl with the dressing from Step 2. Toss to coat. Add mango-orange mixture and toss gently to coat with dressing. Makes 8 servings.


1/2 ounce yeast

3/4 cup warm water

1 cup sugar

7 to 8 cups flour

1 1/2 cups warm milk

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter, softened

6 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vanilla

Zest of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 orange

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup golden raisins

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1. In a bowl, combine yeast and warm water. Add sugar and let sit for 10 minutes.

2. In another mixing bowl combine flour, milk, butter, eggs, egg yolks, salt, vanilla, zest, cinnamon and raisins. Add yeast mixture. Beat together.

(This is more easily done with the dough hook of a stand mixer, but it can be done using a wood spoon and a strong arm.) Beat for 10 or 12 minutes, until smooth and satiny.

3. Let rise in a buttered bowl until doubled. Beat dough down, then transfer to 2 buttered tube pans. Let rise again. Bake at 350 degrees, about 40 minutes or until golden.

4. Cool. Combine confectioners' sugar and enough water to make a glaze; drizzle over top of babkas. Makes 24 servings.