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Spiced roast duck with asparagus and watercress

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for spiced roast duck with asparagus and watercress.

By Emma Knowles & Lisa Featherby
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 35 mins cooking plus resting
  • Serves 8
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Spiced roast duck with asparagus and watercress
Roast duck is much more succulent and cost-effective than roast goose. Quatre épices is a blend of four spices that works very well with the rich flavour of duck, as do oranges, asparagus and watercress. You can serve as much watercress with the duck as you like and turn the dish into more of a salad, if you prefer.


  • 1 duck (about 2kg), neck and giblets removed
  • 3 tsp quatre épices (see note)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 16 asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 30 gm butter
  • To serve: watercress sprigs
Citrus vinaigrette
  • Zested rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon, blanched
  • 2 oranges, segmented
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 220C. Wash duck inside and out with cold running water, then pat dry with absorbent paper. Season liberally with sea salt, rub with quatre épices, then place duck on a wire rack placed inside a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and roast until golden (45 minutes), then reduce heat to 180C and baste occasionally until duck is cooked medium to medium-rare (45 minutes). Remove from oven, drain fat from pan, cover loosely with foil and rest in a warm place for 10 minutes before serving.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, for citrus vinaigrette, combine all ingredients in a bowl, season to taste and refrigerate until required.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, blanch asparagus until tender (2-3 minutes) and drain well. Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until foaming, add asparagus and cook until golden and tender (1-2 minutes). Season to taste and transfer to a serving platter.
  • 4
    Remove duck breasts and legs from duck, halve legs and slice breasts. Serve with asparagus, citrus vinaigrette and watercress.


Quatre épices is available from
. Alternatively, finely grind 1 cinnamon quill, 2 teaspoons allspice, 1 tsp black peppercorns and half a nutmeg in a spice grinder.

  • Author: Emma Knowles & Lisa Featherby