A week ago I buried a duck a breast in a pile of salt for 24 hours then wrapped it in some cheesecloth and hung it to cure for seven days. As you can see by the photo it looks pretty good. What you can’t tell from the photo is how it tastes, and I can honestly say this home cured duck prosciutto tastes pretty ducking awesome!
Throughout the week I kept walking into the den area where I hung it to dry. I picked that room because it’s small and right next to the thermostat so it’s the one area of the apartment that is probably most consistently cool without too much fluctuation. Every couple days I checked the duck by giving it a gentle squeeze in the middle to see how much it had stiffened. The instructions said the duck would be ready when it was firm and not squishy like raw meat. Sound instructions. By the time the week was up the duck had changed to the deep color you see and very stiff, definitely not squishy. So, when I arrived back home on Sunday from my morning soccer match (famished!) I went straight to the hanging duck breast. I unwrapped it like a kid on Christmas morning, picked off a couple stray strands of cheesecloth, and sliced away. Oh so good. According to the recipe the duck prosciutto will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks. I doubt it will be around that long!
The best part about the duck prosciutto (in my opinion) is that layer of fat which, when thinly sliced, melts a little bit in your mouth, coating your tongue with a deliciously salty, fatty, ducky, flavor. It reminds me a lot of some cured meat we had in Sardinia on our honeymoon. Ah sensory memories. For the home chef this is a very easy recipe. If you’re looking to get started making bacon and sausages I think this is a good introduction. Salt, cheesecloth, and a duck breast is all you need! And some patience.