Double Duck Breast with Baked Figs and Duck Liver Toasts

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Roasting a whole duck at home can be an ordeal. Instead, I use this technique—it’s well worth knowing—of tying two large breasts together to make a manageable roast. The duck is roasted to a rosy hue, just past rare, then sliced. Each “roast” is enough for four, so you will have leftovers. A drizzle of sweet aged balsamic vinegar is the only sauce it needs. Leftover duck is good cold for lunch, in a salad with lightly dressed arugula and toasted walnuts.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon allspice berries
  • ½ teaspoon juniper berries
  • A few cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves, slivered
  • 6 large Muscovy duck breasts, about 1 pound each
  • Baked Figs
  • Duck Liver Toasts
  • Aged balsamic vinegar

Method

Put the salt in a small bowl. Finely grind the peppercorns, allspice, juniper, cloves, and bay leaves in a mortar or spice mill. Mix the ground spices with the salt. Add the garlic.

Trim the duck breasts and lay them on a baking sheet or platter. Season each breast on both sides with the spice mixture, massaging the seasoning into the flesh with your fingers.

Now pair up the breasts, and make each pair into a sort of sandwich—that is, stack one breast on top of the other, skin sides out. With butcher’s twine, tie the “sandwiches” together, to make 3 compact little roasts. Wrap and refrigerate for at least several hours, or overnight.

Place the breasts in a shallow roasting pan and let them come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Pop the roasts into the oven and cook for 15 minutes. The duck will have rendered a fair amount of fat. Carefully pour off the fat (to save the fat for cooking, cool, strain, and refrigerate). Turn the roasts over and return to the oven for 15 minutes more, or until nicely browned. An instant-read thermometer should register 125°F for a succulent, rosy medium-rare.

Remove the duck from the oven and pour off any accumulated fat. Let the roasts rest for 10 or 15 minutes.

Remove the twine and cut the duck breasts crosswise into ⅛-inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices on a warmed platter, and garnish with the baked figs and liver toasts. Drizzle a little aged balsamic vinegar over the duck and the figs.