June 4th, 2011
I have read through
The process is dead simple - the salt cures the duck and extracts moisture while it concentrates in duck flavor. What you're left with is salty goodness between a delicious layer of fat that if you slice thin enough, literally, melts in your mouth - unreal!! The key is to slice as thin as possible, skin side up on the bias.
Just as you would with any prosciutto, you can serve on a cold meat platter, toss it in a mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette, throw it between a baguette for a sandwich, wrap it around bite size ripe melon as a hors d'oeuvre or toss it on a pizza as a gourmet topping. My favorite? A slice of duck prosciutto chased with a sip of homebrew, a delicious combination.
Duck Prosciutto Recipe and Technique
1 whole boneless duck breast - skin on, split
~2 cups kosher salt, may need more or less depending on the size of breast **Do not use table salt
- Rub the breasts with salt. In a non-reactive dish (large enough to fit both duck breasts without them touching each other), pour in about ½″ of salt to cover bottom of dish. Place the breasts on top of the salt, flesh side down, skin up. Cover the top side with salt. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and cure in refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Remove from the fridge, and rinse off salt with cold water. Pat dry well with clean kitchen towel. At this point, you should measure the weight of each breast. Lightly dust the breasts with white pepper, wrap each breast in a single layer of cheesecloth, and tie with string.
- Hang the duck breasts in a cool place with decent humidity. The book calls for 50°F-60°F and humidity of 60% for 7 days. The end product will be breasts about 30% of their initial weight, with stiff but not hard flesh, deep red in color. I rearranged a few things around in my fridge (as this was my best option). For me, at the one week mark the breasts still felt squishy (meaning the center was raw) and had only lost about 10% of the original weight. By the time it was said and done, it took about 3 weeks until the breasts felt firm to the touch. Curing times will vary based on temperature and humidity of curing environment.
You can certainly create additional flavor by mixing in some herbs and spices in the cure if you wish. Garlic, juniper berry and bay leaf are a classic Western duck flavor profile or, perhaps, a five spice powder if you consider the all mighty Peking-Style roast duck. If you get creative on this one certainly let me know how it goes!
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