I am so, so excited to post this guest blog from my best pal Dana. One of my favorite things about our friendship is that we love to collaborate, whether it be rocking our first shrimp boil together, having photography sessions where I try not to look ridiculous, or splitting a case of beer and singing Stairway to Heaven (beer helps our creative juices, don’t you know)? So with her recent move to Hungary, we’ve had to get creative on how we can keep our fun rockin’ over long distance. Dana is an amazing photographer as is evident from the photos below, and her fabulous blog. She also happens to be an excellent cook and is always looking for a new challenge to take on in the kitchen, so a guest blog post was the perfect solution for me missing her foodie inspiration. When she sent over this delicious looking duck prosciutto recipe I sure wished I could pop over for a taste. Seirously, gimme!
I recently moved to Hungary, which is a country in Eastern Europe, which is a region of the world with an abundance of cured meats. I fully intended to try my hand at cured meats before now. I even had grand plans to get into sausage making because of my fond memories of helping my dad make sausage as a kid. It just never happened and now that I find myself in Budapest, I could no longer think of an excuse to not give curing meats a try.
I decided to try duck prosciutto for my first adventure. Everything I read said it was a really easy starting point and after looking at a few recipes, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t tried it before if it really was as easy as the recipes claimed. Step by step, I gathered my ingredients: salt, sugar, spices, duck breasts. I had everything I needed except cheesecloth. The day I decided to start the curing process was a Saturday. Most shops in Hungary are closed on Sundays, by order of the government. I tried to stop into a few kitchen shops, knowing that my chances of finding cheesecloth the next day when I needed to use it would be nil, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Suddenly, I had a stroke of genius and stopped in a drug store to pick up some pantyhose. Innovation in the kitchen is alive and well.
The process of making duck prosciutto really is as simple as the recipes claim. Cover your duck breast (or breasts, in my case) in salt (and sugar and spices, if you’d like). Let it sit for 24 hours. Rinse off the salt. Pat it dry. Hang your duck breast in cheesecloth (or pantyhose) for about 7 days. Ideally, you’ll know it’s done when the meat has lost 30% of its weight, but I don’t have a kitchen scale so I went with the recommended 7 days and it turned out great.
After hanging my duck breasts to dry, I promptly ordered Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. I see many more meat-filled pantyhose in my future.