Better late than never, I always say. Right before I left for Nicaragua at the beginning of February, I learned of an incredible… “movement” I think is the word. Mrs. Wheelbarrow, of Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen fame, along with her pal at the Yummy Mummy, dreamed up a contest. A wonderful contest they call Charcutepalooza. The gist of it is that they lay out a charcuterie challenge every month, which is then taken up by food bloggers all over the country. We blog about the results, and somebody wins a trip to France. A trip to France… for making cured meat. Is that great, or what?
Well, to win the prize, you have to do the challenge every month, and blog about it by the 15th of the month. Since I found out about the thing on February 1st, and was out of the country till the 14th, I missed the February challenge. For me, this is a blessing in disguise. Since I no longer qualify for the prize, I can just enjoy participating. I kinda like it that way, especially since I already spend a lot of time in France.
This past Friday, I looked at the 10-day weather forecast. Rainy and cool, the weatherman said. And as I thought about it, I realized this would be the perfect week for me to make the January challenge: Duck prosciutto. Prosciutto is a simple salt cured, air-dryed meat, but you do need temps in the 50-60 range, and it helps if the humidity is high. I do not have (or want to build) a curing chamber to make charcuterie, and in North Carolina, we don’t get a lot of weeks like that, so the timing is great. Also, I recently traded a customer some coffee for one of her locally-raised Muscovy ducks, so I even had the starting materials.
So this afternoon, a rainy Sunday, I tackled step 1 – break down the duck and salt a breast. Here’s the pictorial:
Tomorrow, I’ll rinse it, wrap it, tie it and hang it. I have between now and then to learn how to respectably tie the thing.