- 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)
- Mix seasoning ingredients in a medium bowl.
- 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.
- Spread remaining salt mixture and fresh herbs over the meat, dividing equally. Bring plastic wrap up and over each duck breast, wrapping tightly.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.