Duck So Far
We are about 3 days into the curing of the duck prosciutto (side note: I have identified my inability to spell “prosciutto” as an intractable character flaw). I’m still not sure how well this product will turn out. For one thing, the wild duck is showing lots of mottled white bloom on its surface, which makes it look really unappetizing. Even the store-bought duck has small patches of this discoloration. I’m not sure if this means it’s too done, or if it’s just a defect.
Another problem: the wild duck pieces have shriveled to an impossibly small size, and the curing process hasn’t improved the aroma much, either. Some people at work, including the fellow that donated the duck, commented that wild duck has an off sort of fishy flavor. I haven’t eaten any yet, but the aroma makes me suspect the drying process has just concentrated the flavor. Without a layer of skin, the wild duck has dried much faster than the store-bought variety. Today, the wild duck hit 0.705 water activity units, while the store-bought was still at 0.735.
Lastly, the recipe says to leave the skin on the duck, which for the store-bought variety we did. I’m still unsure how this will taste, but we just have to wait and see. There should be 3 or so more days of drying left, but the wild duck looks as if it is done already. It’s stiff like beef jerky, and its water activity is approaching that of the fridge interior quite quickly. I’ll give it another day, and decide whether to pull it out. In general, though, the duck meat is drying quickly, with the store-bought meat still much softer than the wild duck.