This wonderful recipe is courtesy of David Tanis and can be found in his cookbook, "A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes."




  • Using a mortar and pestle or spice mill, finely grind peppercorns, allspice, juniper, cloves, and bay leaves. Transfer to a small bowl; add salt and stir to combine. Season both sides of each duck breast with spice mixture, rubbing spice into the flesh using your fingers.

  • Place one duck breast on top of a second duck breast, skin sides out. Using butcher's twine, tie duck breasts together firmly; repeat process with remaining duck breasts. Wrap each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place duck breasts in a shallow roasting pan and allow them to come to room temperature. Transfer roasting pan to oven and roast for 15 minutes. Carefully pour off fat and discard.

  • Turn duck breasts and continue roasting until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 125 degrees, about 15 minutes more.

  • Carefully pour off any fat and discard. Let duck breasts stand 10 to 15 minutes. Remove twine and slice duck breasts crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices on a warmed platter with baked figs. Drizzle with vinegar and serve.

Reviews (5)

12 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 2
  • 4 star values: 3
  • 3 star values: 3
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: Unrated
entering this debate late but I welcomed this fresh and interesting way of presenting duck breast to my guests. Was surprised at the cloves of garlic comments. I thought everyone new that a Clove is a spice .
Rating: Unrated
The "cloves" are NOT cloves of garlic, they are a spice, like cinnamon or nutmeg. Whole cloves are usually used to stud a ham before baking. You find them in the spice section of your grocery store.
Rating: Unrated
I found that the duck was not crisping at 400 degrees so when i flipped them i turned it to 450. maybe start at 425 for the whole roasting time to ensure crisping. I was also confused by the cloves vs garlic - i guess rewatch the show on line.
Rating: Unrated
I made this last night though I only made it for 1 person. The duck and figs were delicious even though I didn't take the time to marinate them. I was also confused about the cloves and finally decided it meant cloves of garlic. The recipe does need to be clarified since garlic is listed twice in the ingredients with no mention of what to do with all of it.
Rating: Unrated
The reference to "Using a mortar and pestle or spice mill, finely grind peppercorns, allspice, juniper, cloves, and bay leaves" is hugely confusing, as no cloves are listed in the ingredients. There are a whopping NINE cloves of sliced garlic listed, though - and no reference re: what to do with them! Please advise or correct the recipe ASAP - the duck breasts and fresh figs are ingredients far, far too expensive to commit to with such vague instructions.