Saturday, January 15, 2011

Charcutepalooza: Month One

So, over New Year's my friend Mrs. Wheelbarrow and new friend Yummy Mummy had a spark that grew into a massive meaty conflagration: Charcutepalooza! We're going to take on various charcuterie projects over the course a year. With my major project on deck: y'know, opening a restaurant, I'm going to do my best keeping up but don't think I'll be able to do every project.

You can get on board too! Check out the Charcutepalooza page for information on how to get started.

In month one we made duck prosciutto. I purchased whole ducks and broke them down for the breast meat (oh yes, on Twitter the breast jokes were never-ending). I made confit from the legs with the fat rendered from the carcasses.

The prosciutto making was the easy part: you bury the breasts in salt night, then rub them with spices, then hang them for 7 days. Done!

For me the biggest challenge was finding a spot in the house that had the right combination of temperature (50-60 degrees) and humidity (70% ish). My prosciutto ended up a little dry and I'm sure it's because of the humidity level (too low).

I rubbed two of my breasts with white pepper and the other with a fennel-black pepper-coriander mixture. To be honest, I didn't taste much of a difference between the two. Next time I might try heavily crusting it with black pepper for a more pastrami-esque experience.

So far, we've eaten our prosciutto alongside a citrusy fennel salad and over the top of a chickpea soup. For the soup, I tried crisping the prosciutto, and for me this wasn't super successful: the prosciutto got saltier and lost a lot of its nuanced flavors.

Next month: Pancetta!


Mosaica said...

Beautiful! That salad looks utterly yummy.

The Yummy Mummy said...

Yes, it's a short post but beautiful. The fennel salad with the prosciutto sounds amazing. You've put ideas in my head.

Sunday Cook said...

Thanks folks! The salad was a really nice contrast. We'd been eating a lot of fairly rich dishes, so I couldn't bear the idea of another gut-busting dinner, but I also couldn't bear the idea of not eating some of my prosciutto!

Julia said...

I was thinking of on top of soup, too. Good to know that cooking first might not be ideal!

Sarah said...

The salad sounds amazing! :) Thanks for the insight on cooking the prosciutto - we still have a little over one breast left and I'm trying to figure out how best to use it!


Kimmy Bingham said...

I'm not taking part, but watching all your posts very closely. Nice to see a post from you in my reader again, hope to catch up soon!

Stefan Jones said...

The idea of duck parts hanging about the house is strange but oddly appealing.

Mmmm, duck ham!

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