June 07, 2010
Recipe: How To Cure Duck Prosciutto
By Colin Kearns
Yesterday, I got try out an experiment that I’d been conducting inside my refrigerator for the last couple of weeks: duck breast prosciutto. And after a highly sophisticated taste test with some cheese, olive oil, and ciabatta bread, I'm happy to report that the results were positive.
Classic prosciutto is a dry-cured ham, and it’s probably the only food in the world that I love more than bacon. I could eat the stuff every day. I’d read, though, that duck breast meat can be similarly cured as a tasty variation to traditional prosciutto, and the process requires nothing more than some kosher salt, black pepper, cheesecloth, and twine. So I gave it a shot. Here’s how I did it:
1. In a wide, shallow bowl I made a small bed of kosher salt and placed the duck breast on top, skin side up. Next, I liberally coated the entire breast with more salt, packing the salt down to make sure every bit of the meat was accounted for. I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and stuck it inside the refrigerator for 24 hours.
2. After the salt-curing process, I rinsed all of the salt off under cool water. I then patted the breast dry and sprinkled it with freshly ground black pepper.
3. I wrapped the breast in a folded-over layer of cheesecloth and tied off the top end with a length of twine. Lastly, I hung the wrapped meat inside the refrigerator for two weeks.
I’ll be honest, as I cut into the prosciutto yesterday, I wasn’t exactly sure how this would turn out. After all, hanging uncooked meat inside my fridge is not something I do very often. But it looked (and smelled) safe, so I went for it... And it was delicious! Not quite as good as the real thing, but I should have no problem polishing off all of the salty snack.
To enjoy, slice the prosciutto as thin as you possibly can and serve it with Parmesan cheese on toasted ciabatta drizzled with olive oil (as shown above). It’d also be very good with fruit, such as cantaloupe, pear, or, my favorite, apple. It’s even tasty on its own, which is how I plan to enjoy it with my lunch today. —Colin