I AM A FOODIE! Always have been. Always will be. I was a foodie before people starting using the word foodie. I scour magazines, books, internet, tv, everywhere for recipes. I love talking about food, food culture, where food comes from, what I can do with it, and what other people are doing with it. I love cooking it. And most of all I love eating it.
Since my kids are both in school now I find myself alone in the house in the mornings and I have time to think about what yumminess I need to get myself going for the day. A bowl of cereal or plain toast just isn’t going to cut it most of the time and so quite a few mornings breakfast has become…lets just call it eccentric. Don’t get me wrong here. I’m perfectly happy with simple fresh ingredients, but if I can make those simple fresh ingredients into something heavenly with relatively little work, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. This morning’s breakfast is no different.
***This is where turn into a total food nerd. This next paragraph needs to be read imagining its being narrated by Anthony Bordain. Oh crap! I just wasted about 90 minutes watching YouTube because I wanted to post a link to one of his videos and I got distracted. Best bet is to Google him or search on YouTube if you don’t know who he is. I’ll wait. It’s worth it to get the right voice in your head……now back to breakfast. ***
Open the fridge and lets begin. Start out with fresh mushrooms broken into pieces and fried in real butter. Now grate a zucchini and add that to the pan with some fresh cracked pepper. Add little bits of paper thin home cured duck breast prosciutto and let it all start to crisp up in the pan.
Crack two fresh green/blue eggs plucked from the hen house just the day before and whisk them into a froth before pouring over the veggie/prosciutto mixture. MMMMMM fritatta. Carefully flip it all over, turn off the heat, and add just a few pieces of left over roasted potato to warm in the left over heat of the cast iron pan. Serve that with some gorgeous crusty bread toasted to perfection and I’m in heaven.
I think everything would seem way better if you had someone like him describing what you were eating. ‘Once the delicate noodles are al’dente it’s time to add the brightly colored cheese powder, like nuclear fallout dust gathered from Chernobyl, some butter, and whole milk and stir to create the flourescent mac and cheese dish we know and love from our childhoods,’ Who wouldn’t be all over that? (Please, no hate mail about the Chernobyl reference. I just had no other nuclear reference in my head when I was writing this.)
If I won the lottery I’d want to travel the world with Anthony Bordain, Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert, David Chang, and Jacques Torres as my own personal food ambassadors as we romp through the countryside finding tasty morsels to gorge on day after day. Of course we’d need to walk from town to town just to work off all the food we’d be eating wherever we went but I’d be ok with that.
For now I’ll have to settle with my own creations and being inspired by what’s around me, and I’m happy to say that with the resurgence of craft foods and the back to basics movement we have quite a bit of good food and ingredients to pick from in our area.
Recently I tried a new recipe using our amazing duck meat and it doesn’t get more local than our back yard. Hubby and I decided it was time to reduce our flock size and I took that opportunity to make some duck breast prosciutto.
I know, I know. All you purists are thinking that prosciutto comes from a pig and that’s it. Ok, so traditional prosciutto does, but I’m certainly not a purist or a traditionalist and am up for a challenge and a change. Who knows, we might just find something to add to our “favorites” list.
I started out with two amazing duck breasts which I put in a container and completely surrounded with salt. No parts of the meat could touch each other or the sides of the container.( I always think about taking pictures when I’m in the middle of something so I didn’t get pics of most of this process.) It probably would have been easier to do them in separate containers but that’s a lesson learned. I used pickling salt because it doesn’t have the anti-caking agents or other additives of table salt. I’d say it took me 5 minutes and then into the fridge it went for about a day. I left mine a little longer, maybe a day and a half by the time I got around to the next step…which was rinsing all the salt off. So far, so good, so simple. Make sure the salt is rinsed off really well then it’s onto the drying step.
All of the recipes I read said to use paper towel to dry the meat really well but I used a clean kitchen towel and it worked out. Maybe paper towel is just easier for most people. Either will work as long as you get that meat really dry. The texture and size had changed quite a bit at this point making it firmer and smaller due to the loss of all that moisture,
Next thing I had to do was wrap it in some cheese cloth and hang it in the fridge for a week. My wrapping wasn’t the prettiest but it worked. You might have to get creative with how you hang it in the fridge since most newer fridges have glass shelves vs. the older wire racks. Something like a banana hanger would work well. Whatever you use, make sure your little parcel isn’t leaning against anything and it has air circulating around it.
When I finally unwrapped it, around 10 days of hanging, this is what it looked like. The white around the edges is salt but my first reaction when I opened up the cheesecloth was “oh no, i’ve ruined it”. Nope. It was just fine.
That’s basically all you do and then it’s ready to enjoy. Slice it nice and thin and eat it the same way you would eat pig prosciutto. The kids couldn’t get enough of it the first night I sliced it and we put it on pizza last weekend. Yummy!
I wish I had a slicer to get it paper thin but my filleting knife did a pretty good job and I’m happy with my accomplishment. Maybe I’ll save my pennies for the next year and save up for a really good slicer since charcuterie is definitely something I’m going to pursue some more. Or maybe if I’m a really good girl Santa will bring me one…I should be ready to slice up some homemade bacon or salami or more prosciutto by then. Ok I have to go now. I’m drooling and it’s time for lunch.
Have a beautiful day everyone and try making something new today. You just might have a new favorite on your hands.