Aylesbury duck breast with hoisin

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As can be expected from the UK's new master of meat, this duck with hoisin sauce dish is not as simple as it appears. Gareth Ward uses ducks aged for two weeks to ensure the skin is nice and dry, which allows for a particularly crispy finish and intense flavour. Using regular un-aged duck will also provide delightful results at home, and the intense hoisin sauce is very simple to make. Pickled cucumber and chive oil add freshness to this gorgeous plate of food, intended to be served as part of the tasting menu that Ynyshir has become famous for.

First published in 2018




Aylesbury duck

Chive oil

  • 100g of chives
  • 100g of sunflower oil

Hoisin sauce

Cucumber pickle

  • 1 cucumber, very long and firm, peeled
  • 100g of rice wine vinegar
  • 50g of sugar


  • High-power blender
  • Muslin cloth
  • Blowtorch
  • Temperature probe


Start the dish the day before by making the chive oil. Combine the chives and oil in a high-power blender and blitz at a high speed until the blender jug starts to feel warm to the touch. Pass the liquid through muslin cloth into a container and place in the freezer
  • 100g of sunflower oil
  • 100g of chives
You can also make the hoisin sauce at this stage, if desired. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blitz until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve and store in a squeezy bottle or bowl
The next day, remove the chive oil from the freezer – the chive oil and water from the chives will have separated, with the ice on the bottom and the oil on the top. Pass the oil into a container and discard the ice beneath
A few hours before serving, preheat the oven to 100°C/gas mark 1/4. Remove the duck from the fridge and carefully score the fat, cutting into the skin but not into the flesh beneath. Place on a heatproof surface and use a blowtorch to brown the skin of the duck for 5–10 minutes until it is a deep golden colour
Place the duck crown in a roasting tray and cook in the oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 55°C when testing with a temperature probe. When the duck is ready, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 20 minutes
For the pickled cucumber, combine the sugar and vinegar in a container, allowing the sugar to dissolve. Cut the cucumber into long, thin strips using a mandoline, knife or vegetable peeler, and submerge in the pickle
  • 1 cucumber, very long and firm, peeled
  • 50g of sugar
  • 100g of rice wine vinegar
Carve the duck breasts from the crown. Place the breasts skin-side down in a pan over a low-medium heat and slowly render the fat, cooking until the skin is golden and crisp. Season with salt and carve the breasts into even portions
Remove the cucumber ribbons from the pickling liquid and cut into neat rectangles
To serve, place a portion of duck on each plate and drizzle over the hoisin sauce. Add a piece of pickled cucumber on top, then spoon over the chive oil. Serve immediately

Tucked away in a country house hotel in rural Wales, Gareth Ward is creating dishes like no one else in the UK. With a focus on aged meat, preserved seasonal ingredients and punchy Japanese flavours, his tasting menus are bold, exciting and an absolute must-try.

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