Prosciutto d’anatra curato in casa/Home Cured Duck Prosciutto with Apples and Marmalade

  • Serves about 8
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/4 cups coarse salt
  • 1 Moulard duck breast (available at specialty butcher shops or (See Where to Buy Guide.)
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground sundried sweet peppers from Senise (See Where to Buy Guide.), or sweet paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced into 8 thin pieces
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ½ baguette, cut into 8 thin slices
  • Red Onion and Radicchio Marmalade, for serving (page 316)

Recipe from The Al Tiramisu Restaurant Cookbook

I love the elegant personality of this recipe, almost as much as the joy I get from making it right in my home. It’s exciting to watch the process that the duck undergoes as it slowly transforms into an aged duck prosciutto.

Shortly after I conjured up and perfected this dish, I put it on the Al Tiramisu menu. Our regular customers immediately ranked it right up there with taglierini al tartufo bianco (see page 33) as their two favorite dishes. That says a lot, considering the sensational popularity of our truffle dishes.

So unique is my duck prosciutto that I enthusiastically introduce it to broader audiences every chance I get. I often showcase it at local fund-raising events, such as “Sips and Suppers,” in which some of the nation’s finest chefs help support DC Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table, two organizations serving the needy.

People who taste this dish are very pleasantly surprised at the duck’s extraordinary flavor, which, of course, makes me beam with pride. You can get the same reactions by curing your own duck in your home refrigerator.

Note that the duck curing process takes about 17 days, a factor to consider before you plan on serving this appetizer.

Preparation

To cure the duck prosciutto

  1. Layer some coarse salt on bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the duck breast, skin side down on the salt.
  2. Place a rosemary and thyme sprig on the breast and press down lightly with your hands. Coat completely with more salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 days.
  3. On the fourth day remove the breast from the salt and rinse in water to remove salt completely. Dry with paper towels.
  4. Place the breast on a clean work surface and cover with a teaspoon of sundried sweet peppers from Senise (or sweet paprika), pressing down firmly with your hands to coat.
  5. Grind fresh pepper on it to coat and wrap it in a clean cotton kitchen towel.
  6. Refrigerate for about 2 weeks, giving the duck breast a quarter turn once every four days. Rotating the breast as it cures ensures that each part  is adequately ventilated.
  7. After two weeks, carefully slice the breast with a carving knife into very thin pieces. Each slice should be about as thin as a slice of prosciutto.

Before serving:

  1. Melt butter in a skillet. Add apple slices and sugar and stir.
  2. Sauté over medium heat until the apples are soft and golden.
  3. Toast baguette slices and top each with the apple mixture and a slice of the prosciutto.
  4. Arrange the slices on a platter and serve with a tablespoon of Radicchio and Red Onion Marmalade on top of one of the apples.

Italian Cooking Primer

Since I started making this duck prosciutto I’ve found many delicious ways of incorporating it into recipes. It makes a great substitute for guanciale or bacon  in carbonara sauce, for example. It also makes an unexpected alternative to pork prosciutto in panini and on crostini.

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