Roast Duck with Grape and Almond Agrodolce

, from Issue #37. September, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Roast Duck with Grape and Almond Agrodolce

‘Agrodolce’ means sour and sweet and refers to sauces of Sicilian heritage which have these two elements and are often served with meats. The French term for such a sauce is aigre-doux or gastrique.

Serves: 4


1 duck, 1.8-2 kilograms
1 lemon, quartered
2 sprigs rosemary
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
3 tablespoons caster sugar
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
½ cup Marsala, port or sherry
½ cup raisins
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


Preheat the oven to 180˚C.

Duck: Rinse the duck inside and out with cold water and dry well with kitchen towels. Put the lemon and rosemary in the cavity and season. Tie the legs with kitchen string. Rub the skin with olive oil and season with sea salt. Place it breast side down on a rack set over a baking dish and pour in 2 cm of water. Roast for 1 hour.

Turn the duck breast side up and roast for another hour. Transfer to a plate, cover loosely and rest for 20 minutes.

Agrodolce: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and cook the onion, garlic and rosemary with a good pinch of salt until the onion is soft. Increase the heat and stir in the sugar. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the sugar starts to caramelize and is a pale golden colour. Add the vinegar and let the mixture bubble up then add the Marsala and raisins and simmer until the mixture is reduced and syrupy. Cool for ten minutes then stir in the grapes and almonds, adding the parsley just before serving.

To serve: Cut the duck into quarters and, using kitchen scissors, remove the rib cage and all the small bones. This will give semi-boned portions. Put a portion of potato rosti followed by some beans and spinach on each plate and top with the duck and a spoonful of grape agrodolce. 

Menu:  Serve Tuna and Avocado Tartare Crostini to start; followed by Jerusalem Artichoke Soup then Duck served with Potato Rosti and Green Beans with Spinich, Lemon and Garlic.  Enjoy Affogato with Biscotti to finish.