Thursday, February 10, 2011

Duck Prosciuitto Chicken? Duck Prosciutto Bacon.

The first project in Charcutepalooza, the one I read about just as it was happening, was duck prosciutto. Take a duck breast, cover it in salt for a day, then hang it to dry for a week, and you're done. So I headed to Sherman Market, picked up a duck breast from New York State, and gave it a try.



I wasn't particularly afraid to start making the duck prosciutto. After all, I've tried salting cod before, and this wasn't so different, plus the weather cooperated. I didn't even check that I knew where our cheesecloth was before I stuck the duck breast into the salt in the fridge overnight. (And then I didn't. Know where it was, that is. Did you know that a "turkey stuffing kit" from the supermarket contains a cheesecloth bag, twine, and bits of metal that make adequate hooks to hang up a piece of meat to dry?)



What it turned out I was somewhat afraid of was eating the duck prosciutto. You see, it's supposed to turn firmer after a day dehydrating in the salt, and then firm up as it turns into a cured meat product hanging in a cool space for a week. And it seemed different - but I've never eaten duck prosciutto, nor have I eaten anything I've cured that wasn't also meant to be cooked before eating.



Then I decided that it looked a bit like bacon, with the nice red color, the gorgeous strip of fat on one side..the not-so-thin slices I was able to make... So our first taste of the duck prosciutto was fried up bacon-style, to go along with a little french toast. Tasty, and cured-tasting like bacon. Not too crispy because I like my bacon to taste meaty anyway. But still, not the most exciting texture, and not worth buying a duck breast and then watching it cure for a week, either.



So. I had to convince myself it was really cured. A little more poking, a little more prodding, a small nibble from my husband and I , and we proclaimed it safe to eat. (Also, tasty. Pretty intense flavor, and very smooth and silky.)



For lunch I ate this salad, with some generous slices of duck prosciutto without further cooking, beets, potatoes, and tiny greens grown in a greenhouse in Westport MA, and a little vinaigrette.



I'm still here.



duck pancetta salad

4 comments:

  1. Your duck looks gorgeous and yay for you and your husband! You were brave and ate it - and it was GOOD. Welcome to Charcutepalooza. Best, Cathy

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  2. and now that I'm more awake today I notice that making Prosciutto and Pancetta back to back makes me mix up the words in my post... fixed now. :)

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  3. Can you do this with a chicken breast? Or maybe the darker meat? I wonder what turkey would be like?

    Gray site!

    - Michael

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