Preparation the day before: about 12 hours (including
6 hours curing and 4 hours cooking, plus overnight dry brine
Roasting time: 3 hours, plus resting time
It's delicious any time of year, but Mother's Day and an early Easter are two great reasons to roast a duck in March. Cooking the legs separately from the breasts will bring out the best in both cuts. It's a fairly long preparation the day before you roast the duck, but relatively easy and the results are well worth it. A slow confit in duck fat means the legs will be pull-apart tender, while roasting the breasts on the crown will keep them pink and juicy. Your butcher can prepare these cuts for you, but make sure you keep the trimmings and giblets to make an intense gravy.
To balance it out, this sweet-sharp berry sauce will cut through the savoury richness of the duck (but if you don't have the time or inclination to make it, redcurrant or cranberry jelly stirred with a little orange juice will do the trick nicely.)
It's useful to have use a meat thermometer for this recipe, to ensure the breast meat is perfectly pink, not grey and dry.