15 January, 2008

Duck Tale Part Two

So here we are in studio B with the drying box. You may remember this decommissioned kitchen cabinet from Hunt for Proscuitto. In there you see a couple of devices to measure temp and humidity, and a casserole for adding water in the box.

But let's jump back to this morning.

I degreased and bagged the duck stock, then I got all the duck fat I made yesterday, I got all the duck fat and lard I made a month ago, and put them into a dutch oven along with the legs, lollipops and gizzards we saw in Duck Tale Part One.

Into a 200F oven, see you in six hours.

Meanwhile back in Studio B:

Duck Prosciutto.

It's been twenty-four hours since I put the duck breasts in a salt bed. Now rinsed and dried, they are noticeably darker and firmer.

Here I use a bamboo skewer to make a hole. I'll thread the hole with a stainless s-hook off an old IKEA pot rack.

So like I was saying yesterday, I used the fourth breast for dinner. I cross-hatched the skin then seared each side (skin side first) in a dry skillet. Three minutes per side. I sliced it up and put it on top of a salad. Bonne Femme accused me of being "gourmet." What? pan sear, salt and pepper, what is gourmet about that? Duck should be served like beef or tuna, rare.

As you can see above, I covered the opening with landscape fabric so the box can breath while filtering light. I found a draughty spot in the basement and I hung the box in front of it. When I last checked the temperature was about 50F with a relative humidity of 40%. I'll leave it for a week.


Back upstairs in the test kitchen the confit is ready to come out of the oven. I carefully remove the bits putting the legs and lollipops in a crock and the livers hearts and lights in a glass jar.

I strain the fat through a china cap lined with muslin then top off each vessel.

I'll cover them with foil and set them in a cool spot for a few days. I wonder what I could make with that?

For further reading on confit or duck prosciutto, check out Charcuterie, by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn.

Stayed tuned from Part Three when we find out if the drying duck has blossomed into prosciutto or turned to just jerky.


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