Duck, Olive, and Fig Skewers

Duck, olive, and fig Skewers on a square plate.

There couldn’t be a simpler, more delectable appetizer than these small skewers bursting with flavor. What I love about them is that they’re utterly customizable.

For example, figs make this dish exotic, but apricots or peach halves are colorful substitutes when figs aren’t in season, making this a year-round, go-to recipe in our house.

Removing the duck skin, which is where all that unctuous fat lives, makes this a leaner dish. But don’t be too quick to toss it out. Slowly rendering the fat rewards you with some delicious stuff to use for cooking, such as frying potatoes or making pie crusts, as some bakers do.–David Leite

Duck, Olive, and Fig Skewers

Duck, olive, and fig Skewers on a square plate.
Chunks of duck breast are steeped in an herby marinate then threaded along with olives and figs on skewers and grilled to perfection.

Prep 20 mins
Cook 5 mins
Total 3 hrs 25 mins
6 servings
240 kcal
5 from 1 vote
Print RecipeBuy the Cindy Pawlcyn's Appetizers cookbook

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For the marinade

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 3 duck breasts skin removed, cut into 18 equal pieces

For the skewers

  • 1 tablespoon highest-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 to 12 green olives pitted
  • 6 to 12 fresh figs, apricots, or peaches halved
  • 1 lemon cut into 6 wedges (optional)


Marinate the duck

  • Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Place the duck breasts in a sealable plastic bag or a suitable container. Pour the marinade over, making sure all surfaces are well coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for 3 to 24 hours.

Prepare the skewers

  • Combine the vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, and mix well. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking as you go. Continue whisking until well emulsified. Reserve until needed.
  • Thread the marinated duck onto six 6-inch skewers, alternating 3 duck pieces with the olives and/or figs (you can use 2 olives, 2 figs, or 1 of each). Using a cast iron grill pan or grill, grill over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes per side for medium-rare meat. Drizzle 2 to 3 teaspoons of the vinaigrette over each skewer before serving.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and serve.
Print RecipeBuy the Cindy Pawlcyn's Appetizers cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 240kcal (12%)Carbohydrates: 9g (3%)Protein: 23g (46%)Fat: 12g (18%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 87mg (29%)Sodium: 205mg (9%)Potassium: 413mg (12%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 7g (8%)Vitamin A: 130IU (3%)Vitamin C: 13mg (16%)Calcium: 22mg (2%)Iron: 5mg (28%)

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Originally published June 10, 2009



  1. Cooked these for an appetizer party on New Years Eve – quick, delish and a hit! Used white balsamic vinegar as that to hand in my cupboard and used blood oranges as the fruit.

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