4 duck breasts, boneless (about 3 lb total)
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced vertically into thin crescents
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 quarters preserved lemon, pulp scraped out and discarded
1/4 C tomato paste
1/2 C tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 – 1/2 C Spanish Manzanilla pitted olives (rinsed, then soaked in cold water for 4 hours)
salt, hot sauce to taste
In a heavy sauté pan, cook the onions slowly in olive oil about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent but not browned. Remove to a side plate.
Wash, then dry the breasts well. Score the breast skin deeply at 1″ intervals and trim off any excess fat. Season lightly (both the olives and the lemon bring brine with them, so be cautious with salt until the dish is more or less done), set the heavy sauté pan over high heat and brown the breasts, skin side down, about 5 minutes. Turn the breasts and quickly sear the meat side — about a minute — and then remove to a side plate.
Add the onions, garlic, preserved lemon, tomato paste, and olives to the pan. Scatter in a pinch of turmeric, a pinch of saffron, and a pinch of paprika. Lay the breasts on top of the vegetables, skin side up, and then add about 2 cups water. The breasts should be in contact with the water but at the same time sitting largely above it.
Roast the duck uncovered in a preheated 350º oven until the breasts reach an internal temperature of 130º — about 20 minutes. Remove the breasts to a side plate, cover with foil and allow to rest about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, return the sauté pan to the stove top, add in the chopped tomatoes and gently simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, to reduce slightly. Correct the seasoning.
To serve, spoon about 2/3 of the sauce with the olives and onions onto a serving platter. Slice the duck and place on top of the olive-onion sauce. Spoon the remaining olives, onions and sauce over the duck. Garnish with minced cilantro..