Reading about The Mad Fermentationist’s account of making duck breast prosciutto inspired me to try to make some on my own for Christmas.
Duck Breast Prosciutto
Making Duck Breast Prosciutto
After checking a number of different recipes online and also consulting at the local salumeria, I made a few adjustments to the Mad Fermentationist’s recipe:
- salted for 28 hours
- washed salt off with wine
- coated with white pepper, garlic powder, fresh thyme and rosemary
- aired for 13 days at °37 F (°3 C).
I followed the Mad Fermentationst’s recipe in every other way.
Tasting the Duck Prosciutto
The meat is quite firm and jerky-like at the narrowest edges, but the texture of most of the meat is very close to prosciutto.
The big difference between duck and regular prosciutto is that the fat in pork is marbled throughout the meat whereas duck fat all sits on top of the meat. There’s also a lot more moisture in duck fat than pork fat. Normally prosciutto is sliced thinly, but this is even more important with duck breast prosciutto because a large mass of moist duck fat in your mouth isn’t very pleasant. But the fat on thinly sliced pieces almosts melts in your mouth and blends in with the meat.
My duck prosciutto tastes like cured pork with a slight overtones of game. The white pepper comes through quite nicely and it is noticably salty. The thyme and rosemary are really evident in the aroma, particularly when opening the package, but they blend well with the other flavours in your mouth.
Modifying the Recipe
I’m pleased with how this recipe turned out, but there are a few things I’d like to try.
I think it would be better if it weren’t quite so dry. Next time I make this I’ll reduce airing time to 10 or 11 days. From what I can gather after reading a number of different recipes online, the airing time seems to depend on the temperature and humidity. I’ve seen instructions ranging from “hang in a dry area” to “hang in a moist area” and “hang in your refridgerator” to “hang at room temperature (in a warm region no less!).” I decided to play it conservatively and keep everything (salting time, airing time and temperature) on the safe side.
Another thing I’d like to try is to marinade the duck breast in wine or beer and herbs before salting. It seems a little silly adding liquid before drying, but it also might be the best way get milder herb flavours in to the prosciutto.