© 2011 cochrancj. All rights reserved. 4: Hang out of the reach of roving wild dachshunds

Duck Prosciutto-Charcutepalooza Challenge #1

I had big plans for this prosciutto. Big sweeping plans involving wine, cheese, a baguette and possibly grapes. Definitely wine. Maybe even a pizza. French-influenced continental goodness al fresco.

Until late last year when I stumbled upon a package at my butcher’s, I had no idea such a thing as duck prosciutto existed. Since first spying a package, I’ve been cooking up ways I’d like to use it–and oh, the picnics I’ve had in my head! Hours-long scenes of pastoral nature enjoyment (sans bugs), heat and sunburn. You can only imagine my excitement when Charcutepalooza challenge numero uno was for the delectable-sounding stuff.

I actually made this loveliness concurrently with Charcutepalooza challenge #2 for Home! Made! Bacon! and in the ridiculous amount of excitement that the bacon brought, I almost completely forgot about having this post tucked away for later. It also helped that I was called out of town for work through most of the curing process, though from what I’ve heard, it drove my dogs insane. The little one was near inconsolable–he knew meat was somewhere, dammit, he was just too short to find it. I can only imagine his indignant dachshund huffiness when no tasty goodness was forthcoming when he demanded it.

In lieu of having anything even remotely resembling a cave, garage, or temperature-controlled environment, I hung the breasts in my hallway on some storage shelving to cure. I was worried about bacteria or mold, but since the breasts had a good coating of salt to begin with, I really needn’t have. They were just fine hanging out for a week or so in the hallway all by their lonesome (with attending whining pooches).

I served this first/second foray into the wonders of charcuterie as an appetizer to a fantabulous collaborative meal between my DH, myself and a friend alongside fresh pita points, goat cheese, and a spread of bacon and tomato jams. Needless to say, the duck didn’t last long at all. I think I heard growling, too. For more on the dinner, see the post.

No leftovers to serve on a big picnic blanket… guess I’ll just have a great excuse to make this again. And I’ll have to buy said picnic blanket… :)

Curing the duck was also easier than I had feared. I was wary because of the not in the fridge-ed-ness of this curing method, but it turned out just fine. Pack breasts in salt, chill in the fridge for awhile, de-salt, wrap in cheesecloth, tie horrendously, hang in hallway for a week or so or until 30% lighter, slice thin & stand back. Couldn’t be easier. Really. See for yourself.

1: Bury your breasts in salt

2: Remove from salt, season

3: It's an ugly job, but these babies are wrapped up tight!

4: Hang out of the reach of roving wild dachshunds

5: When your breasts look dessicated and have lost 30% of their mass, you're good to go!

6: Serve simply to the delight of all, big picnic blanket not necessary

This recipe/preparation can be found in Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Briay Polcyn

Makes a great appetizer spread with toasted pita points,
Bacon Jam like the one posted here
Tomato Jam
and a nice creamy goat cheese

Duck Prosciutto-Charcutepalooza Challenge #1 on Punk Domestics