It's a fabulous time of year to be cooking with fruit. This twice-cooked duck is great with cherries, or you could try mango, peaches or nectarines, either sautéed or just sliced fresh.
2 x 2kg whole ducks
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
FOR THE CHERRY TOPPING
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp butter
500g cherries, pitted (you can use fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper
Put a duck on the chopping board and remove the fat deposits in the cavity. Cut the neck off, then remove wing tips by cutting at the first joint. Season inside and out with sea salt. Repeat with the second duck.
If you have two stacking bamboo steamers, or one larger one, cook both ducks at once, otherwise, cook one at a time. Steam the ducks over boiling water for 45 minutes, not boiling the saucepan dry. If using two small steamers, halfway through, place the top one on the bottom to ensure even cooking of each duck.
When the ducks are cool enough to handle, put one on a board and remove the legs. Cut the backbone out, turn over and cut the breast in half down the middle, leaving the bones attached to the breast. Repeat with the other duck. You now have four breast pieces and four legs.
Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced). Rub the duck pieces with olive oil and sea salt. Put in a roasting tin skin-side down, cook for 15 minutes, then turn over. Pour out any excess liquid and cook for a further 15-20 minutes. The duck should be cooked and the skin crisp; remove from the oven when done.
For the cherry sauce, place a pan over medium heat and add the oil and butter and cook until foaming; add the cherries, sugar and salt and cook for about 15 minutes until soft and fragrant. Remove from the heat and give a really good grind of pepper.
Place the duck legs on a chopping board and separate the thigh from the drumstick. Place on the side of 4 large plates. Place the breast on the board and remove the meat from the frame, slice each breast into 4 slices, then place on each plate, fanning slightly. Spoon over the cherry sauce, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and add another grind of pepper. Serve with a crisp baby cos salad.