Nigel Slater's Duck with Figs and Barolo

Duck with figs and barolo
Duck with Figs and Barolo. . Jonathan Lovekin

When I was growing up, there was a fig tree straddling my parents' and my neighbor's fence. On prolific years, we couldn't eat enough of the fruit. We ate the fruit straight off the tree for snacks, turned it into jam, and skewered it on the grill alongside lamb or chicken. But I'd never thought to pair the fruit with duck legs before reading Nigel Slater's Ripe.

His Duck with Figs and Barolo is an exercise in restraint. Two legs are seasoned and roasted in a hot oven before being finished in a quick red wine and fig sauce. The wine melds beautifully with the rendered fat, and the sliced figs suck up the sauce becoming at once sweet, rich, and pleasantly tannic.

Why I picked this recipe: The simplicity called out to me. Duck, wine, figs, and little else make for a rustic, easy meal.

What worked: Gently sweet figs were a delightful foil to the gamy duck and robust wine.

What didn't: I found the quick-roasted legs a bit tough; a longer, slower cook-time would have capitalized on their connective tissue and made for a more tender outcome.

Suggested tweaks: The wine and fig sauce would taste fantastic drizzled over duck confit.

Reprinted with permission from Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard by Nigel Slater. Copyright 2010, 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

Recipe Details

Nigel Slater's Duck with Figs and Barolo

Active 15 mins
Total 45 mins
Serves 2 servings


  • 2 duck legs

  • A few sprigs of thyme

  • 4 figs

  • A wine glass of red wine, such as barolo

  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Season the duck legs with salt and black pepper, tuck in the thyme sprigs, then roast in the oven until golden and crisp-skinned—a matter of 25 to 30 minutes or so.

  2. Holding the duck in place with a spatula, pour off the fat and reserve for another day. It will be wonderful for potatoes. Cut the figs in half and tuck them, cut side down, around the duck. Pour in the red wine and place over medium heat until the wine has evaporated by half and the figs have softened, scraping any crusty bits from the pan into the wine.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
234 Calories
6g Fat
21g Carbs
13g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 234
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 52mg 17%
Sodium 633mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 13g
Vitamin C 3mg 17%
Calcium 42mg 3%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 235mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)