As I said in my previous recipe, cured duck breast is an original and tasty salt meat which you should try ! It also has the advantage being very easy to do homemade, since the piece of meat we have to cure is quite small. Here’s the traditional recipe for it, but you might then adapt it to your taste by operating some changes in the seasonings. After having used my homemade duck breast to fill buckwheat crepes, I had some leftover, so I made several canapés with a few ingredients I had on hand. These are only quick ideas, but I hope they might inspire you if you feel tempted to make your own cured duck breast !
Homemade cured fillet of duck breast
Ingredients (yields about 300g cured duck breast) :
- 1 fillet of duck breast (about 400g)
- 500g coarse salt
- 1/2 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar or ground (you might roast them before crushing or grinding to increase their flavour and crush them easily), or the same amount of freshly ground mixed peppercorns or of a mild chili like the French « piment d’Espelette »
Rinse the fillet and pat dry with paper towel. Leave the fat on, but devein it carefully using a sharp knife ; on the above picture you can see that some veins remain inside the flesh, but don’t bother, it will turn out good even though.
For the curing, pick out a container which is a bit superior in size to the fillet of duck breast but quite deep ; mine was about 3 x 5 x 4 inches wide. Put 250g salt into it, lay flat the fillet above, then pour over the remaining 250g salt. Take note that this salt might be flavoured with dried herbs such as rosemary or thyme.
Rest the container 24 hours at room temperature, then throw away the salt and rinse the fillet under fresh running water. I’d suggest to do it twice to avoid the cured meat being too salty. Pat it dry again, thoroughly, with paper towel. Rub entirely the fillet with pepper, which helps keeping the meat free of germs besides flavouring it.
Put it fat side below in a clean towel or in the previous container ; fold the towel over it loosely, or if you’re using a container, simply cover it with a sheet of paper towel to allow the air to circulate. Now, you just need to leave it in the fridge (the coolest part of it) for at least 3 weeks. Be patient : it’s worth it !
You may then use it to fill buckwheat crepes, to garnish salads or as a nice variation for canapés. It will be kept several weeks in the fridge.
Cured duck breast canapés
Dried fig stuffed toasts (store-bought for me) – olive oil or butter – sliced figs (substitute with dried figs if out of season) – thinly sliced cured duck breast
My favourite : white bread toasts (toasted) – artichoke spread* – thinly sliced cured duck breast
*to make it, simply puree 120g preserved artichoke heart with 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp lemon juice, then add salt and pepper
White bread toasts (toasted) – goat cream cheese – thinly sliced cured duck breast (the less successful in my opinion !)
Enjoy and don’t hesitate to let me know your ideas, trials and successes !