Charcutepoolza January: Duck Prosciutto
You may have noticed the new banner on the sidebar of my home page. I have signed up to take part in Charcutepoolza, an online gathering of charcuteriers and would-be charcuteriers (<–Me). Each month we are issued one charcuterie challenge from Michael Ruhlman’s book “Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing.” We then prepare and share our experiences about completing the challenges. I was very excited when I came across this idea on twitter (hashtag #charcutepoolza) because having received Ruhlman’s book for my birthday some many months back, I had as yet only prepared homemade bacon. I was thrilled about the prospect of trying more adventurous recipes.
The challenge for January was duck prosciutto. In order to meet the January 15th deadline I would need to procure duck breasts at the very beginning of the year. I knew a few of our local farmers raised ducks, but there were none for sale. The husband was kind enough to pick up a whole duck at Whole Foods during a trip to Atlanta; although I would have preferred to buy one from our local growers. As luck would have it the very next week duck was available at our online farmer’s market. I bought one even though I had already started the prosciutto.
So step one for me would be to cut up the duck. I have cut up chicken before, but never knowing that my butchering skills would be displayed for all to see. I found several instructions and videos online and followed them as best as possible. I think I did a passable job. Step two was covering the breast in salt and refrigerating for 24 hours. No problem. Then it was a simple matter of seasoning, wrapping and hanging them for about 7 days.
Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen says she looks for a decrease in weight of about 30%. On the 7th day, I weighed the breasts and they were at 22% and 24% reduction. I decided to let them hang for a few more days. On day 10, I reweighed them and they were both at 26% reduction in weight. I didn’t want to leave them any longer, besides my deadline was looming, so I unwrapped them and placed them in the freezer for a few minutes. I sliced one of the breasts as thinly as I possibly could and we ate it straight from the cutting board. It was delicious! I would have liked to be able to slice it thinner, but all in all I would say it was a great success. Originally, I had planned to served the prosciutto in a salad, but since snowpocalypse has hit Georgia I think I would like to make something more substantial like pizza.
I can’t wait for next month’s challenge.