It's been a great year for figs in Spain. They've rarely tasted better. So it's time to come up with an imaginative recipe. For imaginative, read boozy!

How about Pato con higos (Duckling with figs - and a little white wine). A traditional Basque dish. It sounds like a dish I could give a fig about.


1 duckling of about 2 kilos
500 grams of fresh figs
1-2 bay leaves
1 small thyme sprig
1 tablespoon of goose fat or pork lard
500 grams of baby onions or small shallots
2 large carrots, diced
250 mils of dry white wine
Black Pepper


Have the duckling at room temperature. Salt and pepper it inside and out. Tuck away the bay leaves and thyme inside the bird. Preheat the oven to 160 celsius or gas mark 3. Melt the goose fat or lard in a heavy, flameproof casserole that is big enough to contain not only the bird but also the vegetables. Add the wine and pour in an equal volume of water. The bird should be almost submerged in the liquid and, briefly, bubble up. Cover tightly and transfer to the oven. Leave to cook for about 90 minutes and until it is perfectly tender. Remove the bird and its vegetables to a warm serving dish. Joint the duck into quarters. Place the figs gently in the juices in the pan, bubble up, and then turn down the heat. Cover tightly and cook for 5 minutes until the figs are heated right through. Arrange the figs around the duck. Reduce the juices in the pan to a concentrated slick of sauce, taste and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the duck.