Duck Baked in a Crust of Herbs and Salt

  • Serves

    serves 4


By SAVEUR Editors

Published on March 14, 2002

Chef Robert Lalleman at the Auberge de Noves made us this dish with the famous ducks of Challans, in the Vendee region of western France; muscovy ducks are a more than adequate American substitute.


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 12 cups kosher salt
  • 10 egg whites
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 14 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (5-lb.) muscovy duck
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. white-wine vinegar
  • 12 cup dry white wine
  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced
  • 1 bouquet garni (1/2 tsp. coriander seeds, 2 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf, 2 thyme sprigs, and 5 black peppercorns, tied in cheesecloth)
  • 1 tbsp. acacia honey
  • 12 cup Chicken Stock
  • 12 Veal Stock


Step 1

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, egg whites, 2 tbsp. pepper, rosemary, thyme, and cilantro and mix until dough holds together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes. Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 450°. Rinse duck, pat dry, then prick skin with a fork. Season inside and out with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then sear duck, turning to brown on all sides, 10–15 minutes. Transfer duck to a plate and set aside to cool.

Step 3

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a 10'' x 14'' rectangle. Place duck in center of dough, breast side down, then wrap dough around duck, pinching to seal. Place duck, seam side down, on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.

Step 4

Meanwhile, place vinegar, wine, shallots, and bouquet garni in a saucepan. Simmer over medium-high heat until reduced by three-quarters, about 7 minutes. Add honey, chicken stock, and veal stock. Cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes more, then strain, season with salt and pepper, and keep warm.

Step 5

To serve, use a sharp knife to cut through crust, then peel away and discard. Thinly slice breast meat and arrange on 4 plates. Spoon sauce over meat. Cut legs (with thighs) from duck and return them to oven, cooking until skin is crisp, 15–30 minutes. Serve legs as a second course.

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