Saturday, March 28, 2009

Duck Proscuitto: Day 1

Once again, Ruhlman inspired me with a post on duck prosciutto. If you don't already have his book, Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing, I encourage you to get it so you can follow along or even better so you can do this yourself!

Step 1: Obtain duck breast. Pekin is OK, but magret (the breast from a moulard duck raised for foie gras) is better. I did this by calling The Goose. You can also order online from D'Artagnan or Hudson Valley Foie Gras.

Step 2: The recipe calls for 1 lb which is sort of one boob's worth of duck breast. Two is good -- both sides, as it were. I cut mine in half. (You don't have to, you can cure it flat, then sort of wrap it together, but it takes longer to cure.) Leave all that great fat and skin on.

Step 3: I prepped my cure. Ruhlman's a purist and goes just for kosher salt and a little black pepper. I can never resist throwing in a few cloves, juniper berries, black peppercorns, and star anise. I skipped the spice grinder and just gave them a good crushing in the mortar.

Step 4: Rub the spices on both sides of the duck. Pour a good bed of kosher salt into a bowl or dish, top with the duck, a bay leaf or two, and more salt. The breast should be covered on all sides with salt. If you're doing two in the same dish, they shouldn't touch.

Step 5: Cover, refrigerate for about 24 hours. Don't overcure. Stand by for Duck Prosciutto Day 2.

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