Monday, January 13, 2014

Duck Prosciutto

Home-cured duck prosciutto 

My brother bought me a very exciting cookbook for Christmas:

This book is all about preserved meats--pate, sausages, confit, salami, etc--types of foods you'd never consider making at home, mostly because the idea of aging meat in your house sounds icky or potentially dangerous to a reasonable person.
I, however, have a cavalier attitude towards germs--I've enjoyed ceviche purchased on the street in El Salvador and live to tell that harrowing tale--and the thought of creating these kind of delicious, salty, fatty delicacies at home was wildly thrilling. I read the whole book cover to cover, like a novel. And I had to try my hand at Charcuterie as soon as possible. I've made confit, pate, and rillettes previously, always to spectacular results--so this time I wanted something new. Duck prosciutto was one of the simplest recipes in the book--and DUCK PROSCIUTTO? Duck in the style of cured, dried pork? I had to try it.
The recipe is simple:

HOW TO MAKE DUCK PROSCIUTTO: Pack one duck breast in kosher salt, cover and refrigerate 24 hours.  Remove from salt, rinse it, dry it, wrap in cheesecloth and hang for a week or so.  A general rule is dry-cured products are done when they lose 30% of their weight.

I bought a package of four duck breasts. I decided to make one breast (2 lobes) plain, no seasonings, and to make one with a rub of garlic and bay leaves. 
Fresh duck breasts. 

Duck breasts about to cure in kosher salt for 24 hours. 

Removing the duck from the salt a day later. 
I hung these to age in our basement--cheesecloth was hard to find (they didn't have it at Alberton's) so I cut up some of Adam's old shirts and used those. 
Coming soon to an app plate in Denver!
This turned out delish--if you like salty, meaty, gamey things--which I very much do. The layer of fat is meltingly soft, the meat is chewy and deeply ducky. I sliced some as thin as possible and ate it with some cheese and pickled sweet onions. Just perfect. 
And now I have four big lobes of duck prosciutto, waiting for the perfect occasion. 

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