The simplest home charcuterie project you can make. I urge you to try this. It doesn’t need any specialist curing chamber setup, and what’s more – it’s delicious!
- 2 large duck breasts (better still, you can buy a whole bird for a little more than the breasts, make stock with the carcass, and confit the legs)
- Sea salt
- A couple of bay leaves
- white pepper
- some cheesecloth (muslin) and butcher’s string
- digital scales
- a non-reactive, lidded container large enough to hold the breasts side by side without touching
Put some sea salt into the container so that it covers the bottom. Place the breasts on top of that, nestle them into the salt and make sure that they’re not touching. Press a bay leaf onto each one, then cover them completely with more sea salt. Put the lid on the container and put them in the fridge.
After 24 hours in the fridge, take them out and discard the salty brine that’s developed. They should be firm. Rinse the breasts under cold running water, and dry them with kitchen towel. Cover them with white pepper so that they have a nice dusting. Then take your muslin and wrap the breasts up tightly. Tie with butcher’s string so that you can hang them up. You’ll want to weigh them at this point using digital scales (a must have). Record the weight of each one and attach a label to the string with the weight on.
Then hang them up (ideally at about 70% relative humidity, and 12-15 degree C), until they’ve lost about 30% of their original weight. I hang mine in the cupboard under the stairs, above a bucket with some salty water in to add some humidity), but that’s not really necessary. Cool temperature is a must. Mine took nearly a week until they’d lost 30%.
That’s all there is to it!
Slice them as thinly as you can, and tuck in! I love to eat them on endive leaves, with thinly sliced pears and Gorgonzola. It’s sooo good.
Here they are after hanging for nearly a week
And here’s what they look like sliced. The fat just melts in your mouth!