- 1 duck breast
- Sea salt or kosher salt (quantity will vary depending on pan size)
- 2–3 medium-sized white sage leaves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon (3–4 grams) cracked peppercorns
- 1 small California bay leaf (or 1 commercial bay leaf), crushed
- Around 1 tablespoon (8 grams) garlic powder
- 2–3 tablespoons (2–3 grams) California sagebrush leaves
- Pour 1⁄2 inch of salt in a non-reactive pan. Place the duck breast on top and cover it well with another layer of salt. (If you use more than one duck breast, make sure they don’t touch each other.) Use sea salt or kosher salt, not regular table salt (which contains iodine and other chemical agents).
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours (18 hours is fine if it’s a small breast).
- Remove the duck breast from the salt, rinse it with water, and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the breast on cheesecloth; add the wild aromatic herbs on both sides. Wrap it with the cheesecloth (you should end up with the cheesecloth being two or three layers thick), and tie with a string.
- Weigh the duck breast at this point, as it will be ready to eat when 30 percent of its weight has been lost through dehydration. After weighing it, hang it in a section of the fridge (don’t let it touch anything).
- When the weight of the duck breast is reduced by 30 percent—usually in 10 to 12 days—your prosciutto is ready. Remove from the fridge, unwrap the cheesecloth, and enjoy. The wild sages infused into the meat during the dehydration process provide nice feral flavors.
- You can wrap the prosciutto in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for several weeks.
More from: The New Wildcrafted Cuisine• Basic Wild Cheese Recipe • Candied Tree Leaves Recipe • Pickled Cattail Shoots Recipe
These recipes are adapted from Pascal Baudar’s book The New Wildcrafted Cuisine: Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir (Chelsea Green, 2016) and are reprinted with permission from the publisher.
The New Wildcrafted Cuisine (Chelsea Green, 2016) by Pascal Baudar incorporates ingredients from the great outdoors into gourmet recipes that can easily be made in your own kitchen. Baudar uses the best that nature has to offer to bring unique and extraordinary flavors into every dish. The following excerpt is his recipe for duck prosciutto with wild sages.
The straightforward recipe is packed with flavors. Anyone with a refrigerator can make it successfully. My herb mix features ingredients native to or naturalized in Southern California; you can use the same procedure with your local (wild) aromatics.