Anatra arrosto con cipolle, olive e marsala

Roast duck with baby onions, olives and marsala

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in


By Tessa Kiros

Published 2003

  • About

Once a traditional and rustic way of serving duck, this dish is now reserved for festive occasions. The Marsala in this recipe lends the sweet flavour so well suited to this meat.


  • 400 g (14 oz) baby onions, peeled
  • 1 duck, about 1.4 kg (3 lb 2 oz), cleaned and insides removed
  • 30 g (1 oz) butter
  • 250 ml (1 cup) Marsala
  • 800 g (1 lb 12 oz) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250 g (9 oz) black (oven- or sun-dried) olives
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled


    Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Bring a small saucepan of slightly salted water to the boil, add the onions and boil for a few minutes. Drain, keeping the onions aside.

    Prick the skin of the duck in a few places with a fork. Put the duck into a large roasting dish. Rub the skin with the butter and season with salt and pepper. Put into the hot oven, breast side down, and roast for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

    Remove from the oven, turn the duck over and pour over the Marsala. Add the onions, potatoes, bay leaves, olives, sage, rosemary and garlic. Mix them through with a wooden spoon. Add 125 ml (½ cup) of water.

    Return the dish to the oven for another 1¼ hours or so, turning the duck over again halfway through cooking, and shuffle the potatoes with a wooden spoon.

    There should only be a little liquid left with a crispy duck, which should be well cooked throughout. Remove from the oven and check the potatoes to see if they need salt.

    Cut up the duck with poultry shears, carve some of the meat and serve hot, together with the potatoes, onions and pan juices.