Salted and Styled’s Cooking Class: Duck Prosciutto

August 28, 2013

Recipe courtesy of Chef Roberto Leoci
Photography by Chia Chong
Styled by Libbie Summers, Katherine Sandoz and Brooke Atwood
Shot on location at Meddin Studios

Traditionally, prosciutto is a salt cured and dry aged Italian ham with a delicate buttery texture. In this duck version, Chef Roberto Leoci spins the story a little differently by using a fresh duck breast and a few simple ingredients. The only thing you may find difficult with his technique…is the waiting. 

How To Make Duck Breast Prosciutto


  • 2 (8 ounce) fresh duck breasts
  • 1 cup sea salt (can substitute kosher salt)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons ground mace
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, torn into pieces
  • Cheesecloth
  • Butcher’s twine
  • 2 weeks time

Step 1:
Assemble Your Ingredients

Step 2:
Score the Duck Breast

Using a sharp knife, score the duck breasts by lightly drawing the knife across the skin and through the fat cap in diagonal lines equally spaced ½-inch to 1-inch apart. The cuts should be 1/8-inch to1/4-inch deep depending on the thickness of the skin and fat cap. Next make diagonal cuts in the opposite direction with equal width and depth. You will end up with a diamond pattern.

Step 3:
Mixing the Dry Ingredients

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the salt, sugar, fennel, mace and pickling spice.

Step 4:
Coating the Duck Breasts

Massage the spice mixture into the duck breasts. Cover the duck breasts with the salt mixture and place in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator and gently brush off any excess salt mixture.

Step 5:
Assemble the Fresh Herbs

Step 6:
Preparing to Wrap the Spiced Duck Breasts

Cut two pieces of double thickness cheesecloth that are large enough to completely cover each spiced duck breast. Working with one duck breast at a time, lay out one of the pieces of cheesecloth on a flat surface. Prepare the herbs by removing from stems and tearing into pieces. Divide the herbs equally into two portions and place one evenly on a section in the middle of the cheesecloth. Next place the spiced duck breast onto the herbs.

Step 7:
Wrapping the Spiced Duck Breasts into Bundles

Wrap the cheesecloth around the breast like a package, being careful to completely cover the breast. Repeat step with the second breast.
Roberto’s Note: Wrapping the duck breasts in cheesecloth will help speed up the drying process.

Step 8:
Tying and Hanging the Duck Breast Bundles

Cut two lengths of butcher’s twine long enough to securely tie each of the duck breast bundles up, be sure to leave a long tail at the end. This doesn’t need to be fancy as shown here by Roberto. Hang the duck breast bundles in a dry place for 2 weeks (a basement, garage or pantry work well). Test for doneness by pressing your finger against the breast. When cured, there will not be any give in the meat when pressed with your finger. If the breasts are still soft, allow to hang for another week and test again.


Congratulazioni! You just made duck breast prosciutto. Thinly slice and serve.

Try out your Duck Prosciutto with this recipe (seen below):
Crispy Goat and Duck Salad



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