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The Hirshon Ultimate Duck Prosciutto

The Hirshon Ultimate Duck Prosciutto

  • Author: The Generalissimo


  • Two 1-pound boneless Moulard duck breasts with skin – NOT frozen, if at all possible
  • ***
  • Seasoning/curing ingredients:
  • At least 1 ½ cups kosher salt, possibly more
  • 2 Tbsp. (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. dried Greek oregano
  • 5 juniper berries, dry-toasted, ground in a spice grinder
  • Sprigs of fresh thyme, fresh bay leaves & sage leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp. coarsely-cracked long pepper (TFD preference) or black pepper, preferably dry-toasted
  • ¼ tsp. smoked paprika (optional but recommended)
  • ½ Tbsp. fennel pollen (TFD preference) or 2 tsp. dry-toasted and freshly-ground fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp. dry-toasted coriander seeds, ground in a spice grinder
  • ***
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar (optional – only if you are using the hanging in fridge process)
  • Cheesecloth (optional – only if you are using the hanging in fridge process)
  • 2 suction cup hooks (optional – only if you are using the hanging in fridge process)
  • Butchers twine (optional – only if you are using the hanging in fridge process)


  1. Mix seasoning ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Arrange 2 sheets of plastic wrap side by side on a work surface. Spread ½ the fresh herbs on the plastic wrap. Add 1 scant cup salt mixture (do not pack) in center of each sheet, over the herbs and spreading the mixture to match the size of the duck breasts. Top each with 1 duck breast, fat side down.
  3. Spread remaining salt mixture and fresh herbs over the meat, dividing equally. Bring plastic wrap up and over each duck breast, wrapping tightly.
  4. Place on a small rimmed baking sheet, fat side down, and refrigerate for at least 7 days to cure and up to 3 weeks (no more). Ideally, you want the duck breasts to have lost 30% of their previous weight but go with your preference – TFD prefers anywhere between 7 and 14 days, personally. It should be firm but pliable – if in doubt, slice off a small piece and check it.
  5. A more traditional method would be to hang the duck breasts in your fridge, wrapped in cheesecloth, and hanging over a small pan of kosher salt following the same salt/herb methodology. It allows the duck breasts to ‘breathe’ and results in a superior product, IMHO.
  6. If you’re using this hanging version of the recipe, rinse off the salt/herb mixture after 2 days of curing in plastic wrap per above with vinegar over a sink. Dry the breasts thoroughly and either wrap in cheesecloth as is (if thick) or rolled like a jellyroll in cheesecloth (if thin). The rolled version should resemble a whole salami in shape. A demo on how to roll and tie up the prosciutto is available in the main article text via YouTube.
  7. Unwrap duck breasts (from either method) when they have reached your preferred level of pliancy – again, this will probably be after a week or two. Using a long, sharp knife, VERY thinly slice the meat – it should be nearly paper-thin. The ends of the duck may be too dry to use as charcuterie, but they are simply AMAZING in making a killer poultry stock! Serve with sliced fresh fruit.
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