I haven't posted much food stuff here lately, but this is what we are doing here in La Sechere on a regular basis. This is how you prepare and dry cure a duck breast. It's very simple, but you need about 2 weeks. Here, magret de canard is a staff of life. It is the breast of the big barbary male ducks. It is a red meat and to my taste, when it is barbecued or pan cooked, better than a steak. There is a layer of fat which, being duck fat, is an omega 3 fat, like fish fat In other words, it is good for you. Here in the Sud Ouest of France, we use it in our everyday cuisine in place of lard or oil. Potatoes sauteed in duck or goose fat are one of life's simple pleasures. In fact, it is part of the paradox here, this part of Europe has the lowest heart disease per capita in Europe, but we like to eat.
I know you can buy magret de canard in the USA...there are more and more local producers, but you may never see dried magret for sale in America and if you do, it would probably be quite expensive. The dried duck breast is sliced thing and eaten like a cured sausage or prosciutto. I was going to document the latest magrets we are curing, but I found this video from the 750 gr. series. It's in French, but basically it shows you the basic process. They trim the breast, but usually that is not required. Get coarse sea salt or kosher salt and roll the raw breast in the salt, then we bury it in salt for 24 hours. You can reuse the salt a few times. After 24 hours, you brush off the salt, and season the breast. Here, the cooks are using powdered piment d'espallette which might be more like a spicy paprika..Espallette peppers are grown in the Basque region and were originally imported from America. Many people use crushed black pepper corns and thyme. Here, the cooks use thyme but I have a variety of wild thyme called serpolet growing here in profusion. So, my version, I am using serpolet from edge of the forest.
Then the breast is wrapped in a clean towel and placed in a very dry part of the refrigerator, we have a plastic box that has air vents. Then you let it dry for 2 weeks. That's it....Bon appetit, bien sur, mes amis!