Sunday, 2 November 2014

' home cured DUCK PROSCIUTTO with MELON .'

Home cured Duck breast Prosciutto served with Compressed Cantaloupe in lemon vinaigrette, Olive oil & Powdered Olive oil, Balsamic vinegar reduction and micro greens.

              October was a month of a few simple charcuterie projects I had wanted to do for a while now. As I've been recovering from a third bout of surgery on my foot, these little projects have been a perfect   therapy. Just a little light preparation and then some patience while they cured, brined, pickled or corned, depending on the project at the time. There are quite a few recipes available, which I find to be safe and easy to do from home and really for the results at the end, its worth the wait. To name a couple that I do from home, Duck breast pastrami and prosciutto, duck liver pate, pickled lambs tongue, nitrate free bacon and smoked oysters, salmon and trout. Duck prosciutto I would recommend to any one wanting to give charcuterie a go, as its hard to go wrong, providing you're working in an hygienic environment and clean hands and work tools and surfaces. The duck prosciutto consists of just three ingredients, the duck breast, salt and white pepper, with a bit of cheesecloth, some kitchen string and 7-10 days of patience and Voila.        
              First of all, I rinsed the duck breast under cold running water before pat drying. In a glass container I spread 1 cup of evaporated sea salt (course mill), placing the breast on to the salt, skin side up. I then placed a 2nd cup of salt over the top of the breast, making sure to completely cover the duck. This was then covered with plastic wrap and placed in the fridge for 24 hours. I then rinsed the salt from the duck breast which was now firm and had gone quite red in colour, before pat drying with a towel and seasoning with the anti-bacterial properties of the white pepper. The duck was then wrapped in a couple of layers of cheesecloth before being strung with kitchen string and hung in a dark, cool place (8-10C) for 7-10 days. After a week I started checking on the meat by gentle pressing the thickest part of the cut. When the meat was firm to the touch, which was around the 9th or 10th day it was ready to be sliced and sampled. When sliced thinly enough the layer of breast fat just melts away on your tongue and together with the saltiness of the duck flavoured meat is just perfection for the palate.                                                                                                                      
               For this dish, I stuck to the perfect match for an accompaniment, rock-melon, to which I sliced into 5cm long, 1 x 1 cm batons. The batons were then placed into a food grade plastic pouch with some lemon vinaigrette and vacuum sealed on high. These were left in the fridge overnight to compress, breaking down the structures of the fruits cell walls, releasing the natural sugars and flavour of the melon, as well as soaking in the vinaigrette. To make the reduction I simple simmered down some balsamic vinegar and a little sugar until thick and syrupy. The powdered olive oil was made by mixing at a ratio of 40/60, Olive oil to Tapioca Maltodextrin (N-zorbit M) until light and fluffy. To plate I placed the compressed melon batons lined diagonally across the plate topping each with a slice of duck prosciutto and the olive oil powder. This was then garnished with some micro greens and on one side of the dish I placed some dots of balsamic reduction and on the other side I drizzled some olive oil.        

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