Note: This recipe from "Simply French," Patricia Wells' book with three-star French chef Joel Robuchon, is a good example of the attention to detail that makes a truly great cook. It's a small thing, but tilting the duck on the platter after the cooking really does result in a much moister breast. The citrus-flavored caramelized apples that accompany it are a perfect foil for the rich flesh.
Freshly ground white pepper
3 large cloves garlic
1 small carrot, cut into thick diagonal slices
1 small onion, cut into thick slices
1 sprig fresh thyme
Grated zest of 1 small orange
Grated zest of 1 small grapefruit
Grated zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon honey
3 to 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, about
1/2 cup water, about
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
Caramelized Apple Slices
Season duck to taste, inside and out, with sea salt and white pepper. Place duck liver in cavity and truss.
Place duck on its side in large oven-proof skillet. Set in 425-degree oven with fullest part of duck (breast portion) toward back. Roast, uncovered, 10 minutes. Turn duck on other side and roast at 425 degrees 10 minutes more. Turn duck on its back and roast 10 minutes more.