Breast: look for deep, dark lean breast meat off the bone with a substantial layer of fat on the upper side. Score the skin with a sharp knife and rub both sides of the breast with salt. Cook skin side down in a medium-hot pan to rare like steak, then slice as you would a fillet. Can also be salted and slow roasted or thinly sliced in strips lengthways for stir-frying.
Suprême: the breast and trimmed wing together. Perfect for slow cooking. Braise gently in stocks or wine with full-flavoured vegetables like shallots, leeks and aromatic herbs – bay, rosemary, sage and thyme are all excellent with duck.
Leg and thigh: trimmed of fat and ‘Frenched’ at the ankle, this is the ideal cut for confit of duck, for roasting and braising. Serve the meat on the bone or shred to make a saucy ragoût.
Tenderloin/fillet: The slim, tender fillet from underneath the breast. Sauté quickly and serve with a creamy sauce, stir-fry or flash fry on the barbecue.
Livers/foie gras: the fattened liver of duck is called foie gras in France and used to make a pâté by the same name. It is also prepared fresh, sliced and seared in a hot pan. We can only buy the pâté in tins or jars in New Zealand from specialist food stores. It is also referred to as ‘Bloc de foie de canard’. Serve sliced as an entrée with a bitter green salad and plain warm toasted brioche. New Zealand duck livers make tasty pâté or pan fry them with garlic and parsley for eating on toast.