Prosciutto is a traditional aspect of charcuterie in French cooking. Simply, it is cured meat which is then cured and matured further by drying in air – leaving a wonderful, intensely flavored butchery product. Sliced thinly, and served with good, strong country-style mustard, dried fruits and black bread, it is a great lunch or part of a late autumn dinner.
Most prosciutto is made with pork. The recipe which follows is made with moulard duck breast. Moulard is a duck raised for foie gras, and its meat is typically more flavorful than domestic pekin, while not as gamy as wild mallard.
The magret is the lobe, or half breast of the moulard duck (each duck will have two magrets, or one full breast).
Moulard Magret Prosciutto
Ratio: This is an important part of any cured meat recipe. The salt ratio is especially important, the spice and garlic ratio which follows less so. Weigh you duck breasts and salt very carefully.
Per pound of Magret: (i.e., salt per weight of duck meat)
.7 OZ salt per pound of duck magret
Per Magret: (i.e., curing spices per unit of duck magret)
10 juniper berries
½ bay leaf, crushed
1 tsp coriander seed
10 black peppercorns
1 clove garlic
Crush to medium-fine juniper, bay leaf, coriander, peppercorns and garlic in mortar and pestle. Add salt and mix thoroughly.
Each Magret: Place large square plastic wrap on counter. Place Magret on wrap and place ½ of mixture on Magret, skin side, spreading so it coats evenly. Turn over and repeat with flesh side. Roll wrap up tightly and seal edges and repeat for up to weekly need. Cure under refrigeration for 24 hours.
Wipe cure off meat – do not rinse. Place Magret on large square of cheesecloth and wrap cheesecloth around Magret, ensuring cheesecloth fully covers meat. Place twine around Magret and secure Magret as if it were a roast, leaving a 6” piece of twine free at one end. Hang in dry cooler at 38F for two weeks. Remove from cheesecloth, wrap in plastic and cut in paper-thin slices at service, freezing if needs be to obtain thin cuts (the freezing helps to firm up the duck breast, making it easier to slice thinly).