Like many recipes in Catalan cuisine, this dish pairs meat and fruit. When in season, fresh figs may be substituted for dried. Picada is one of the region’s quintessential sauces and adds a touch of richness to this dish.






Skill level

Average: 4.3 (7 votes)


  • 4 duck marylands
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 150 ml brandy
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 8 dried figs, stems discarded
  • crusty bread, to serve



  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 1 thick slice day-old white bread
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 40 g (¼ cup) pine nuts, toasted
  • 40 g (¼ cup) blanched almonds, toasted
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Cut duck marylands into leg and thigh portions, and pat dry with paper towel. Heat oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until golden and caramelised. Transfer to a bowl and wipe the pan clean with paper towel.

Return pan to medium heat, add duck and cook for 2 minutes each side or until browned. Drain fat, leaving duck in pan. Return onions to the pan and stir in brandy. Increase heat to high and cook for 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Add chicken stock, cinnamon, ¼ tsp cracked black pepper and figs. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 40 minutes or until duck is cooked through and tender.

Meanwhile, to make picada, heat olive oil in a small frying pan. Cook bread for 3 minutes each side or until golden. Cool and tear into large pieces. Process bread, garlic, nuts and parsley in a food processor until finely chopped. With the motor running, gradually add extra virgin olive oil and process until thick and combined.

Stir 2–3 tbsp picada into the duck mixture. Remove and discard cinnamon. Divide duck, figs and pan juices among plates and spoon over remaining picada. Serve immediately with crusty bread.



Photography by John Laurie.


As seen in Feast magazine, November 2011, Issue 3. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.