The day before: Prepare the duck – remove the giblets and neck from the cavity, rinse the duck in cold water, trim excess fat from the tail. Thoroughly pat dry with paper towels, inside and outside. Rub with salt* and pepper, then with spices. You need to rub it inside, outside, then loosen the skin from the duck breast (without totally detaching it) and rub with the salt and herbs. Place the duck in a large dish in the fridge, uncovered, overnight, but better for one whole day.
On the day of baking: Take the duck out of the fridge, leave on the counter for 30-60 minutes to warm up. In the meantime, set the oven to 450°F / 230°C / Gas Mark 8, no fan.
Cut the lemon in half. Peel and core the apples, cut into quarters. Put inside the duck (as many as fits).
Use toothpicks to close the cavity as much as possible, or sew it with a needle and kitchen twine, you can also tie the legs together with kitchen twine (this is optional). If your duck doesn’t have a neck, close this cavity too.
Place the duck, breast side down, in a large baking dish (it must be large enough for the duck to fit in).
Roast the duck: Put in the oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Then cover the dish with a lid or wrap it tightly with a piece of aluminum foil. Reduce the temperature to 350°F / 180°C / Gas Mark 4, no fan and bake for 1 hour. At the end of this time, start peeling the potatoes and cut them into 1.5-inch / 4 cm pieces.
Turn the duck to the other side (breast-side up), lay the potatoes around the duck, you can also add a couple thyme or rosemary sprigs if you have some on hand. Bake, covered, for 1 hour.
If you want the skin to be browned and crispy: about 10-15 minutes before the end of the baking time place the duck on the top shelf, uncover and brush the skin with honey. Increase the temperature and roast until browned.
Take the duck out of the oven, leave to rest for about 10-15 minutes, it’s best to leave it in the baking dish, it the rendered liquid/fat.
Carve the duck into pieces and serve with roasted potatoes and apples. Sauteed red cabbage or beet salad would be a good side.
Gravy: (optional) In the baking dish should remain a lot of liquid, most of this is fat. Try to collect the fat at the top (it’s more clear, reserve it to make duck fat potatoes) and scoop about a ¾ cup of liquid at the bottom (which is more brown, but still, most of it is fat). Pour in a small pot, add 2 teaspoons of flour. Whisk thoroughly and cook for about 3-5 minutes until slightly thickened. Don’t reduce the sauce more or add any additional salt or will be too salty.