For all of you duck prosciutto fans out there, and there are a bunch, if you are looking for a little change up from the deliciously easy cured and dried duck breast, but with only slightly more effort, then look here. This recipe contains less salt, more heat and the same amount of hanging time.
Starting with the last breast coming from the Gunthorp duck ordered from Green Grocer Chicago, I modified a recipe from Mario Batali’s Babbo Cookbook to fit my tastes and pantry inventory, while keeping the red pepper flakes and salt at the same ratios.
After four days in the cure, I wrapped the duck in cheesecloth, tied it and hung it in our cold office in the basement that has become my wine/meat cave. In the winter, temperatures rarely break 60 degrees in the room and the humidity is easy to regulate. It is no curing chamber, but it is an easy proxy.
After two weeks of hanging, the weight had dropped to 70% of the pre-hang weight and was ready to consume. The appearance is less than beautiful, but the taste is delicious – really rich, but with a good amount of heat and black pepper. The nice layer of fat on top of the breast is no less delicious than in the prosciutto, which is a great thing.
Modified from Mario Batali’s Babbo Cookbook and Babbonyc.com
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon chopped dried rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped dried thyme leaves
- 1 duck breast
Step one: Combine salt, pepper, chilis, and herbs in a vacuum bag containing one duck breast. Coat in mixture and seal. Refrigerate for 4 days.
Step two: Wrap breast in cheesecloth, weigh it, and hang it in a cool corner of your house. When the breast weighs 70% of the original weight, remove it from cheesecloth.
Step three: Slice thinly and enjoy with wine and crusty bread.