Roast duck with Parma ham fat

Roast duck with Parma ham fat

Anitra arrosto con grasso di prosciutto

Simple Cooking
Alastair Hendy

Where else would a dish like this be cooked if not in the ‘fatherland’ of poetry and pigs? Emilia Romagna, of course. The ducks of the area are the proper ones with large breasts and some natural fat, which are fed mainly on corn. The pigs are the famous animals which produce that wonderful fatty ham known here as Parma ham. This dish represents a perfect harmony between the two.


Quantity Ingredient
200g parma ham fat, finely minced or chopped
or 200g pork lard
10g black peppercorns, crushed
1 garlic clove, peeled and puréed
nutmeg, freshly grated
pinch ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon rosemary needles, finely chopped
1 x 2kg whole free-range duck
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sage leaves, finely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Mix the ham fat or lard with the peppercorns, garlic, a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon, rosemary and sage until you have a solid paste.
  3. In a roasting tin, coat the duck with the olive oil, and sprinkle a little salt inside and outside. Spread the fatty paste on to the duck breasts, then cover the roasting tin with foil. Roast the duck in the preheated oven for an hour. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes, basting with the copious fat.
  4. Serve the duck meat with pieces of the delicious skin.

Parma ham fat

  • Parma ham fat may be difficult to find in this proportion outside of Italy (but get to know your local deli well!). Instead you could use lardo, the Italian lard, which is preserved in pieces and rolled as you would bacon. The rendered pork lard is not the same thing at all, but you could use it as a last resort: it is already a paste, which you can mix with the herbs.
Simple Cooking
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