These days seem to be filled with baking cakes (!), chocolates and in general preparing little things for our wedding. I would have never expected all of this to be so consuming, in a way that it takes over quite a bit of brain space and time, but also did I never expect to enjoy the process so incredibly much.
Luckily enough (but also surprisingly enough) we seem to eat our fair share of normal food around here, even with loads of new experiments. While they’re not all equally successful I am happy to feel like trying new things.
This Duck Ham is based on the Food DIY book of Tim Hayward, and I am not kidding you when I say that I bookmarked practically every other page after getting my hands on it. His writing is so contagiously enthusiastic that I am already considering to make my own salami and build my own smoking / fire pit on our balcony.
This Duck Ham tasted amazing and even though I was a little intimidated that we are working with a raw piece of meat, it was a huge success. Another upside is that it felt really festive and special to serve this for brunch. We combined it with a couple of sides, one of which an avocado salad with pistachio nuts, which basically is 4 sliced avocados with a tablespoon of pumpkin seed oil and a handful of crushed salted pistachios.
- 1 large duck breast (farmed and not wild, as this recipe requires meat with a layer of fat to keep the ham juicy, with regards to the size: mine was around 450 grams)
- 200 grams of fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoons of crushed juniper berries
- 3 tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large sprig of rosemary, torn apart (alternatively you can use thyme or, in smaller quantities, sage)
- zest of 1 large (organic) lemon
- Combine the salt with the juniper berries, black pepper, rosemary and lemon zest in a large bowl or deep plate. Take half of the salt out and place this in a separate bowl.
- Dry the duck as much as you can with kitchen towel.
- Place the duck on the layer of salt and sprinkle the other half of the salt mixture over it.
- Press it down and cover the plate with plastic foil. Place this in your fridge for 36 hours.
- The recipe calls for 24 hours, but I felt safer with a longer period (the salt kills bacteria) and it results in a firmer and saltier product, which I like a lot.
- Take the duck out of the salt after 36 hours and rinse it off under water until no more salt is visible on the outside.
- Dry the duck and place it in your fridge on a little piece of waxed baking paper. The recipe calls for it to be hung up on a butcher string in your fridge, which I found a little complicated and thus skipped. All worked out well, and I think this saves you quite some time.
- Leave the duck in the fridge for around 2 weeks, or until you like the consistency. Might it happen that mold forms on the outside, rinse this off immediately and dry the duck thoroughly. Your Duck Ham might still be perfectly alright, but let your nose and taste guide you.
- I used the ham after three weeks, when it got an even intenser color and more sturdy texture, but to be honest, it is fully up to you. Enjoy!