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Salt-crust duck with saba

Australian Gourmet Traveller Italian main course poultry recipe for salt-crust duck with saba

By Rodney Dunn
  • Serves 4
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Salt-crust duck with saba
Inspired by Mario Batali's recipe in Molto Italiano.


  • 1 duck (about 1.8kg)
  • 1 bunch sage leaves
  • 2 kg coarse rock salt
  • 4 eggwhites
  • To serve: saba (see note)
  • 200 gm wild rocket
  • 2 radicchio, rinsed and finely shredded
Roast potatoes
  • 1 kg Desiree potatoes, washed
  • 60 ml olive oil (¼ cup)


  • 1
    Rinse the cavity of the duck and dry with absorbent paper. Season cavity with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and place sage inside. Tie legs together with kitchen twine.
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 220C. Place enough salt in the base of a roasting pan, just large enough to hold the duck, to form a 2cm base and place duck on top. Whisk eggwhites to a light froth and combine with remaining salt. Cover duck completely with salt mixture. Roast duck for 1½ hours, then remove and rest for 10 minutes.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, halve potatoes lengthways, slice into 1cm-thick slices and combine with olive oil in a roasting pan. Season to taste. Roast for 50-60 minutes or until golden and crisp.
  • 4
    Carefully remove salt crust and brush any remaining salt from duck with a pastry brush. Remove skin and discard. Coarsely shred duck and serve drizzled with saba and combined rocket and radicchio and roast potatoes to the side.


Note Saba is the sweet reduction of grape must and is available from The Essential Ingredient and select delicatessens.

  • Author: Rodney Dunn