Rabbit Season!

Duck Season!

Looney tunes is always in season! Technically it’s Duck Season Part Deaux since I started this duck adventure in June and promised to follow up with the details of my micro-prosciutto. Now here I am with less than a day to go in The Year in Meat and I’m just getting around to finishing Challenge #1. Like I have so many times before, I’ve procrastinated because I was mired in indecision but, like so many times before, I found that once I tackled the project, it wasn’t as daunting as I’d imagined. That is especially true this time since the prosciutto was finished and patiently waiting in the freezer for me to just DO something with it besides this:

A glass of rosé was perfect with the duck!

An Olympic sailor that I had the privilege of learning from had some good advice to follow when you’re in a situation that you want to get out of: “Do something and do it with conviction!” It applies to lots of things; not just sailing and it is advice that has stood me in good stead. This time, it applied to about three ounces of duck breast prosciutto. I started with 5.5 ounces for the pair of breasts (and those were the big ones!). After packing them in salt then hanging them to dry for a couple of days, that’s what I had left. Amazingly enough, I got some pretty good mileage out of my little pile of little slices of little breasts!

They look smaller in real life

For some reason, all of my ideas for using this prosciutto involved wrapping it around something but since these slices are, at best, only about 1/4 in wide by 2 1/2 inches long, I was going to have a hard time finding something to wrap this around. I thought about different pasta dishes, pizzas and soups but I didn’t want anything too fussy and I wanted to make sure the ducky-ness shone through. My local farmers markets came to my rescue. I found a beautiful bunch of arugula and a nice piece of Ascutney Mountain cheese from Cobb Hill Cheeses. The Ascutney Mountain is a natural rind cheese that was developed from a Swiss Appenzeller recipe. It’s aged for 7-8 months, has a nutty flavor. It is just delicious and I thought it would pair well with the richness of the duck and the spicy arugula, which I love.

A friend gave me this flatbread recipe a while back and it’s so good that it’s hard not to tear into it as soon as it comes off the griddle. It’s like a cross between a pita and a pizza crust and if you’ve never dabbled in bread making, this is a good place to start because it’s so easy.

Griddled Flatbread

9 ounces bread flour

3/4 tsp table salt

1 1/2 tsp olive oil

1 3/4 tsp yeast

2/3 C warm water

Place all dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. With machine running, add olive oil and all but about 2 tablespoons of the water. Allow to run until the dough comes together, adding water a little at a time if it seems dry or won’t come together to form a ball. Process for 2-3 minutes to form a firm, shiny, elastic dough. Place dough in a large bowl and let rise, covered, in a warm spot until doubled in size, about an hour. Punch down and divide dough in two pieces. Cover with the overturned bowl and allow to rest  for 10 minutes.

Heat a griddle over medium heat until it’s hot. You could also use a heavy skillet but keep the uncooked one covered while the first one is cooking. While the griddle is heating, roll out each piece of dough on a lightly floured surface to make an 8-inch circle. Place on ungreased griddle and cook until light golden brown. Flip and cook until light golden brown. Keep flipping until it is a nice medium brown on both sides, about 5-6 minutes total cooking time.

I was originally going to use these to make a pita pizza but decided to stuff them instead. To turn these into crunchy, cheesy sandwiches, allow to cool then, using a serrated knife, start cutting around the edges and split into two rounds.

Flatbread Sandwiches

2 big handfuls of arugula

about 4 oz good quality, good melting cheese like Fontina, grated

thinly sliced duck prosciutto

Note: Any combination of greens, cheese and meat can be used but I’ve found that flavorful greens and assertive cheeses work best.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Place half of the arugula, cheese and prosciutto on one flatbread round. Add a light sprinkle of salt and a generous grind of black pepper then top with the remaining bread half. Repeat with the second flatbread.

Back: spinach, sharp cheddar and pepperoni Front: arugula, fontina and duck prosciutto

Place on a baking sheet and bake until the arugula has wilted and the cheese has melted, about 10 minutes. They could also be returned to the griddle instead of baking but it is a little tricky to flip them without spilling their guts.

Hot bread and cheesy goodness makes a great lunch, appetizer or snack!

I love soup so I always have several different ones in the freezer for quick lunches. This time I made my favorite bean soup with duck in mind. I used some of that luscious duck fat to saute the onions, carrots and celery and duck stock made up about half of the necessary liquid, then, towards the end of its cooking time, I added a handful of diced duck prosciutto. A drizzle of really fruity Greek olive oil and some julienned duck prosciutto finished it nicely!

Mmmmmmm! and I said that with conviction!

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