Serves 4


  • 900g floury potatoes, peeled
  • 4 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

For the sauce

  • 25g sugar
  • 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons palo cortado sherry
  • 50g dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon arrowroot

For the duck

  • 4 x 200g duck breasts, kept cold in the fridge right up until the time you need to use them


  • For the mash, cut the potatoes into large chunks and place in a large pan with plenty of cold water. Boil for around 20 minutes or until soft with the garlic cloves, bay leaf, peppercorns and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then add a pinch of salt. When the potatoes are cooked, skim off the olive oil and reserve. Drain the potatoes and remove the garlic, peppercorns and the bay leaf. Mash the potatoes with the rest of the olive oil and the reserved portion, then season. Keep warm.
  • In a small saucepan mix the sugar with 1 tablespoon of water and dissolve over a medium heat. When it is dissolved increase the heat and boil until it turns into a nice golden syrup. Turn off the heat and add the vinegar, sherry, and the dried apricots. Return to the heat and simmer for around 8–10 minutes or until the alcohol evaporates. In a separate pan, dissolve the arrowroot in 2 tablespoons of water and simmer for 1 minute before adding to the vinegar and sherry sauce. Keep warm on a very low heat.
  • Whilst the sauce is simmering, score the duck breast skin in a diamond pattern. This should be easy as they will be very cold. Heat a heavy frying pan over a high heat. Place the duck breasts with the skin down and reduce the heat to medium, then cook them for around 4 minutes. We are looking for a golden brown and crispy skin. Turn the breasts and cook for another 5 minutes for a rare cook; keep them in a bit longer for medium. Take out of the pan and rest for 5 minutes on a chopping board. Slices the breasts diagonally in long slices.
  • Divide the olive oil mash amongst four warmed plates, then place the meat on top and spoon over the sauce. Serve with a green salad.


José Pizarro is chef and owner of Jose and Pizarro, London SE1;