JANUARY'S RECIPE: Duck Breast Prosciutto
We’re thrilled to be expanding our in-house charcuterie program in 2018 with an ever-changing selection of Bedales’ house-made meats! Chef Morgwn Preston-Jones has kindly shared his Duck Breast Prosciutto Recipe for you to try curing at home too!
Duck Breast Prosciutto
• 1 duck breast, about 200 grams, fat cap on
• 100 grams sea salt
• butchers twine
• sprig of time
• 2 bay leaves
• orange peel
Start by rubbing the salt into all the grooves of the duck breast and cover completely with the remaining salt in a non-reactive container (glass, plastic, or freezer bag work best). Refrigerate for 24 hours.
Remove the duck breast and rinse the salt away. Pat with a clean towel until dry. Cut a piece of cheesecloth 4 times the size of the duck breast. We will be encasing the duck breast in the cheesecloth in order to hang. Add the thyme, bay leaves, and orange peel to the cheesecloth followed by the duck breast fat side up. Wrap the duck breast so that the cheesecloth completely covers all sides.
Now tie the entire package with butcher’s twine (like tying a roast), leaving a little give on one of the long sides in order to hang in the refrigerator.
Hang in the refrigerator for 7-10 days or until the duck breast loses 30% of its original weight. It should have a firm texture to it, if it is still soft, continue to hang until it firms up.
Once ready, remove the duck breast from its package and slice thinly. It will stay good in your refrigerator covered for about 2 weeks.
If white mold appears it is perfectly fine and normal, however if you see any green or black mold develop, take a clean cloth that has been soaked in red wine vinegar and rub away the mold.
*Critical Preservation Points*
By encasing the raw duck breast in salt, this process encourages water loss. Water content is the most important aspect of curing to understand. Water encourages the growth of dangerous bacteria and can lead to spoilage. By creating favorable conditions for curing we can monitor and control the water loss to create desirable bacteria (Penicillium nalgiovense). By also monitoring the PH of the product we can control spoilage. The ideal PH for most cured meats is 5.2. If the meat remains at a high PH level it can lead to spoilage and should not be consumed. Smoking meats after curing also helps to preserve as it inhibits the growth of microbes.
For air drying the ideal conditions are 18-22 degrees Celsius with a humidity of 75-80%. This helps to dry the meat at a steady rate.
All equipment, work surfaces, and utensils should be cleaned and sanitized before and after use. An example of a sanitizing solution for home use is 15 milliliters of chlorine bleach in 5 liters of warm water. Cross contamination between raw and/or dirty surfaces with clean or cooked food products should be of prime concern.
During storage or refrigeration, raw products must be separated from cooked products. Never store raw products above or in contact with cooked products. If necessary, place raw products in pans or utensils approximately 1-2” deep to keep meat juices from contacting with other surfaces.